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Lawyers Challenge EU and UK over Inaction on Palestine

Lawyers acting for campaigns group War on Want will today send letters to President José Manuel Barroso of the European Commission and UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw challenging them to provide evidence of any action they have taken to curtail human rights abuses against Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.

One year after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Israel’s Separation Wall is illegal, the EU and UK have failed to take the action required of them under the Geneva Conventions to ensure Israeli compliance with international humanitarian law. UN Special Rapporteurs have called on the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement, under which Israeli exports enjoy preferential access to EU markets, on human rights grounds.

Acting under instruction from War on Want, The Dove & the Dolphin Charity and a number of individuals affected by the Israeli actions, London solicitors Hickman & Rose are formally requesting the European Commission to provide evidence of all written communication with the Israeli authorities (including minutes of meetings and internal memoranda) relating to the Separation Wall since the ICJ ruling of July 2004. A parallel request is being made of the UK government under the Freedom of Information Act.

John Hilary, Director of Campaigns and Policy at War on Want, said: “Israel continues to defy international law with its actions in Palestine, and each new day of the occupation sees more Palestinians condemned to poverty and despair. Yet neither the EU nor the British government have honoured their obligations to the Palestinian people as called for by the International Court of Justice. As it assumes the EU presidency, we call on the British government to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement and bring Israel into line with humanitarian law.”

[International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its Advisory Opinion that Israel’s Separation Wall is illegal on 9 July 2004; the Opinion is available on the ICJ website: www.icj-cij.org].

[Copies of the letters from Hickman & Rose to the European Commission and UK governments are available by email. Please contact War on Want campaigns officer Nick Dearden at 07932 335464] [For more details, comment and interviews, contact War on Want press officer John Coventry at 07905 397084. For comment from Hickman & Rose, contact Daniel Machover at 07773 341096].

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