Within a matter of weeks the EU has made statements that differ drastically concerning its relationship to Israel. On 14 May the EU’s 27 foreign ministers unanimously condemned Israel’s settlement expansion plans, its demolition of Palestinian homes and displacement policies as well as settler violence and provocations. It commented on the deteriorating living conditions for Palestinians in the West Bank and said that Israel’s policies “threaten to make the viability of a two-state solution impossible.”
On 5th July the European Parliament passed a landmark resolution condemning Israeli policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It focussed on home demolitions and forced displacement and used the strongest language to date. Noteworthy in the facilitation of the Parliament resolution was the EU Heads of Mission reports on East Jerusalem and Area C, which referenced ICAHD’s legal and political analysis extensively. We believed that years of advocacy efforts that span Jerusalem, Geneva and Brussels culminated in that historic resolution, unprecedentedly referring to the EU-Israel Association Agreement as a means of coercing parties to justly resolve the conflict.
Therefore ICAHD, along with all other organisations working on peace with justice for the Palestinians, was dismayed to learn that as a result of the annual EU-Israel Association Council meeting held on 24 July, the EU decided to increase its trade and diplomatic relations with Israel and has identified 60 new activities in 15 fields. This decision will simply reinforce Israel’s belief that it can continue act with impunity as it persists with its occupation policies in violation of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
In June 2008, the EU decided to condition the upgrade of its relations with Israel to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the implementation of the two-state solution. In June 2009, the EU decided to freeze the upgrading of its relations with Israel and stressed that it must be based on respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. The EU states that it is committed to the observance of human rights and international law yet has failed to adhere to its own policy.
ICAHD recalls that Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement stipulates that “relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.”
ICAHD further calls all EU Member States and multinational organs to cooperate to bring an end to Israeli prolonged occupation, and illegal practices and policies that arise from it. All EU Member States and multinational organs must consider appropriate measures to exert pressure on Israel to end the prolonged occupation, including appropriate sanctions, and the severing of diplomatic relations. Further, ICAHD calls for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement until Israel complies with international law, and ends its illegal policies and practices and prolonged occupation.