EU decision on agreements with Israel welcome, but doesn’t go far enough
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign tentatively welcomed the EU decision reported yesterday that from 2014 any future agreements between Israel and the European Union will have to “unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967”. Furthermore, according to an Israeli official quoted in Haaretz, such agreements will be consequent on Israel recognising “in writing that the West Bank [and East Jerusalem] settlements are not part of Israel”.
IPSC Chairperson Martin O’Quigley said, that “after an initial reading of the guidelines, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign tentatively welcomes this decision. We sincerely hope, and will push for, the rigorous implementation of, and continuous investigation of compliance with, these new guidelines to ensure Israel adheres to them. They cannot be allowed to become simply another set of guidelines that are ignored by both Israel and the EU in the interests of trade and cooperation.
“It is way past time for the EU to walk the walk when it comes to cracking down on Israel’s settlement colonies in Palestine. They are illegal under international law and their very existence is a war crime under the the Geneva Convention,” Mr. O’Quigley said.
Mr. O’Quigley continued: “At the same time, the IPSC recognises that these new rules do not go far enough. It is our understanding that it would theoretically be possible for a company that operates both in the illegal settlements and inside the state of Israel to receive EU funding once it ‘promised’ not to use the funding in the occupied territories. Rather than risk EU funding fraudulently slipping into the settlements, all companies and institutions that operate in the illegal settlements should be excluded from any future agreements with Israel, as they are complicit in ongoing war crimes.”
Mr. O’Quigley drew attention to the Palestinian call for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it abides by international law. “Indeed, these guidelines raise much larger questions about why any Israeli institutions or companies receive EU funding in the first place. For decades Israel has conducted a brutal military occupation of Palestine, and is responsible for gross human rights abuses and war crimes against the Palestinian people, including the ongoing siege of Gaza.
“Even inside the state of Israel, Palestinians and other non-Jewish citizens are legally and routinely discriminated against. At present Israel is attempting to ethnically cleanse tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from their ancestral homes in the Naqab (Negev) desert. This is a racist act, pure and simple. The Palestinian call for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel is clear that until Israel fully abides by its obligations under international law, ends the occupation and grants full equality to Palestinian citizens of Israel – including the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees – there can be no cooperation with Israeli Apartheid, full stop. This is a call the IPSC supports and one we believe the EU should too,” Mr. O’Quigley concluded.
EU Guidelines published on the ECCP website: http://www.eccpalestine.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/COM-Notice-guidelines-on-IL-and-EU-funding-instruments-compact.pdf