February 2, 2009:
Belgium, upset at how Israel has been responding to Hamas rocket attacks, and fearful of losing business in the Middle East, has banned the export of weapons to Israel. Belgium has been selling Israel about $5 million worth of light weapons each year. Belgium is the home of FN and other long-time manufacturers of such arms. But Belgium sells far more of these weapons to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Belgium also accuses Israel of using child (under 18) soldiers (you can enter the Israeli armed forces at 17, but only for non-combat jobs until you are 18).