European lawmakers urge suspension of agreement with Israel

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Palestinian News Network | 14 March 2013

European Lawmakers Urge Suspension of Agreement with Israel

PNN

Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported Wednesday that European parliamentarians wrote European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday calling on her to suspend the Association Agreement with Israel because of the latter’s violation of the terms of the agreement.

"The legal framework for EU-Israel relations is provided by the EU-Israel Association Agreement, or the ’Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement’," wrote 23 members of the European Parliament.

"The Agreement is based on mutual respect for human rights and democratic principles, as explicitly stated in article 2 of the Agreement. The ongoing authorization for settlement activity of the Israeli government, as well as several human rights abuses that have been extensively documented by the United Nations and international human rights organizations, are in breach of Israel’s commitments under article 2 of the Agreement," they wrote.

The MEPs reminded Ashton that "since taking office you have consistently, on behalf of the EU, voiced concerns and condemned the ongoing settlement activity by Israel’s government throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The EU has consistently stated that all settlement construction is illegal under international law and constitutes and obstacle to peace, particularly an agreed two-state solution. Regrettably, it is fair to say that up to date the EU’s objections did not have any effect on change of policy. We need a new approach and decisive EU action."

They said concerns voiced in the European Parliament about the signing of an ’Additional Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean’ on the ’Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (CAA)’ highlighted the Parliament’s feelings about the EU’s ongoing trade relationship with Israel despite policies in breach of the Association Agreement.

"These concerns should be addressed at the appropriate level; the Association Agreement," they wrote.

"One of the main aims of the Association Agreement is to enhance political dialogue between the two parties. The violation of international law and human rights by the Israeli government’s activities, and the lack of response to the EU’s calls to respect international law, in particular a moratorium on settlement expansion, compels the EU to engage more deeply in a political dialogue with Israel on these troubling issues which need to be formally and duly addressed in the context of the Association Agreement," said the MEPs.

"The EU should take the lead in observing international law and protecting and promoting universal human rights. We therefore call upon the Commission to formally address the aforementioned concerns as soon as possible in the Association Committee, as established by article 67 of the Association Agreement and to consider the (partial) suspension of the Agreement," concluded the letter signed by Marietje Schaake (ALDE), Jan Philipp Albrecht (GREENS), Margrete Auken (GREENS), Franziska Brantner (GREENS), Tarja Cronberg (GREENS), Chris Davies (ALDE), Andrew Duff (ALDE), Ismail Ertug (S&D), Véronique De Keyser (S&D), Nicole Kiil-Nielsen (GREENS), Liisa Jaakonsaari (S&D), David Martin (S&D), Emilio Menéndez del Valle (S&D), María Muñiz De Urquiza (S&D), Norbert Neuser (S&D), Niccolò Rinaldi (ALDE), Judith Sargentini (GREENS), Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL), Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (GUE/NGL), Alexandra Thein (ALDE), Ivo Vajgl (ALDE) and Graham Watson (ALDE).

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source: PNN