On the 16th June, the European Union will be discussing the possible upgrading of relations with Israel. Please send this letter to your various representatives and express your concern at this measure while Israel continues to flaunt international law.
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Dear Madam / Sir,
I am writing to you now in order to express my profound concern about the possible upgrade of relations between the European Union and Israel and urge you to advocate for its rejection within the EU.
Israel’s ongoing systematic violation of Palestinian human rights, its flaunting of both its international obligations and international law is well documented, as is its violation of commitments to the EU itself.
As I understand it, under its ‘European Neighbourhood Policy’, the EU offers to neighbouring nations opportunities for political and economic co-operation. In turn, the EU expects these neighbouring states to respect and abide by EU values and practices, particularly those related to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. In the case of Israel, I am concerned that the EU may be offering opportunities for social and economic cooperation and integration, but abandoning its expectation that Israel will respect and practice the central principles of human rights and international law.
Israel has consistently and flagrantly denied the call for Palestinian national and individual rights, violated international law, defied even the most basic guidelines of the Road Map as discussed at the Annapolis summit in November 2007, and failed to uphold it obligations to the EU under the Barcelona Process. Let me give some specifics:
– Israel has embarked on a siege of the Gaza Strip that has resulted in the denial of medical access, shortages of food, fuel and electricity and stands as a grave act of collective punishment. This siege has been imposed amidst Israeli attacks on Gaza which have shown clear disregard for civilian lives.
– Israel has continued construction in more than 100 of its illegal settlements in the West Bank and throughout so-called “Greater Jerusalem”
– In the last six months, Israel has issued a call for bids on the construction of 847 new housing units in settlements throughout the West Bank and 1,300 units in East (Palestinian) Jerusalem
– In the last six months, Israel has demolished more than 185 Palestinian structures, including 85 homes
– Israel continues to operate over 600 checkpoints, roadblocks, and other physical barriers to the movement of the Palestinian population.
– Israel has still not complied with the 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice that determined that it must stop construction of the Wall, remove those parts already built, and provide reparations
– Through a series of restrictions, Israel has consistently hindered implementation of the Interim Association Agreement concluded between the EU and the PLO on behalf of the PNA
– Israel is in direct violation of its Association Agreement with the EU regarding products produced by its illegal settlements. Despite the Association Agreement, Israel continues to export products to the EU as if they were manufactured and/or wholly obtained within Israel and to refund settlement businesses, using illegal subsidies, for import taxes paid by these settlement-based businesses in their export to the EU.
In light of Israel’s systematic breach of European Union, international, and human rights obligations, agreements and laws, the EU’s possible upgrade of its relationship with Israel can only be viewed as a reward to unlawful behaviour. Israel will certainly understand this upgrade as not just a condoning of its behaviour, but as a complete absence of consequences for its illegal and unethical policies and actions.
Moreover, by upgrading its relationship with Israel, the EU would be discarding a key incentive to Israel in proceeding with a just peace process. The EU has a vital opportunity here to play an active role in encouraging a just peace in the region; not by improving its relationship with Israel regardless of its violation of international law, but as a reward for its compliance with international and human rights law and EU agreements.
There is a great need for accountability at this critical juncture in EU-Israel relations. It is imperative that the EU make clear to Israel that the key to improving their relationship lies in embracing and implementing fully the goals and values of Europeans.
I thank you in advance for urging the EU to uphold fair, consistent and objective standards in its dealings with neighbour states and to decide against the upgrade of its relationship with Israel until it abides by international and human rights law and all EU agreements.