AIC | Wednesday, 25 July 2012
EU to intensify cooperation with Israel : double standards in practice
Barely two months after the EU Council Conclusions, stating that Israeli activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory were undermining the two-state solution, the EU has just offered Israel 60 new activities of cooperation during the Association Council meeting it held with Israel in Brussels on July 24th .
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) strongly condemns this double standard attitude that EU seems to be adopting in its dealings with Israel.
‘If the EU is serious about a just peace in Israel and Palestine, it needs to make a stronger link between its relations with Israel and Israel’s respect for human rights and International Humanitarian Law, as called for by the July 5th European Parliament Resolution. The EU needs to back up words with actions. It should use its trade relations and technical cooperation as leverage to that end,’ said EMHRN President Michel Tubiana.
Even though EU decision-makers argue that these fields of cooperation are based on the current Action Plan and do not therefore technically and politically speaking represent an upgrading as such, EMHRN denounces what it perceives as a clear message to Israel that business with the EU still goes as usual. The EMHRN regrets that these 60 activities are not conditioned to any progress in Israel’s human rights record.
Over the last years, the EMHRN expressed deep concern at the fact that despite the freezing of the upgrade of relations since 2009, deepening of economic and technical co-operation has continued since then. Several agreements have been signed since June 2009 (e.g. Agreement on Agricultural and Fishery products which has already led to a visible increase in bilateral trade in these sectors) or negotiation opened (Europol).
Most recently, during European Commission President Barroso’s visit to Israel in July 2012, an agreement to deepen scientific cooperation in the fields of energy between the EU and Israel is also contemplated.
‘EU’s manifest reinforcement of relations with Israel undermines its declared stances as regards Israel’s violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. It also casts deep shades on its declared intentions to renew its policies towards its South Mediterranean Neighbourhood. It is double standards in practice,’ added Michel Tubiana.