Press release, SKOP, 5 February 2009
Maltese civil society: Suspend EU-Israel agreement
The following statement was issued on 30 January 2009:
In view of the recent three-week premeditated campaign of bombing of the population of Gaza and its infrastructure by the State of Israel which came after a crippling, illegal two-year siege, we, 14 member organizations of SKOP, the Maltese national platform of development non-governmental organizations, call for a suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Freezing the upgrade of its relations with the State of Israel to make it a privileged partner, as the EU has done so far, is simply not enough. If the EU is truly committed to the pursuit of a just peace it must also act in a way that clearly dissociates it from war crimes, while helping to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Like Palestinian, Israeli and other international human rights activists in various parts of the world, we are convinced that the only way to stop this spiral of violence and injustice in non-violent ways is to pressure the State of Israel to respect its moral and legal obligations as set out by various UN resolutions, which include the UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian refugees, particularly in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 194.
The merciless bombing campaign against the occupied people of Palestine highlights once again the need for the state of Israel to respect the resolutions passed by the United Nations which demand a full and unconditional withdrawal from the lands it occupied illegally in 1967. This also means that, in agreement with the people of Gaza, the state of Israel must lift its debilitating blockade immediately. There can be no just peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories it has occupied, if the State of Israel continues to flout international law and violate the human rights of an occupied people. The occupation has created a spiral of violence that has left its toll on thousands of Palestinians and also on Israeli civilians.
We also request all organizations and people of good will in Malta to pressure the Maltese government, Members of European Parliament and prospective MEPs, and the various authorities within the EU to show their true commitment towards a just peace in Palestine by avoiding products and services (like tourism) provided by companies implicated in the occupation and human rights violations, and to choose services and goods, like fair trade products, provided by communities in occupied Palestine.