EU must suspend all upgrading plans with Israel!

Press release

Since the EU’s political commitment to upgrade its relations with Israel in June 2008, the human rights situation on the ground has severely deteriorated both in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and in Israel. Given these negative developments, the EU should publicly state that the upgrading of EU-Israel relations is on hold, pending tangible progress in Israel’s respect for human rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and that any deepening of relations between the two parties has to be conditioned on Israel’s fulfilment of these commitments.

The EU should not accept a mere declaratory commitment of the new Israeli government to a two-state solution, if made, but it should also demand from Israel that it translates this commitment into concrete actions aiming at reversing its illegal actions in the OPT and improving the human rights situation of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel.

A ‘business as usual’ approach by the EU towards Israel would amount to a blatant disregard of Israel’s violations of human rights and IHL, signaling the EU’s acquiesce in or non-objection to Israel’s conduct.

The EMHRN and FIDH urge the EU to use the upcoming EU-Israel Association Council meeting to put pressure on Israel to:

• Cease immediately its unlawful measures of collective punishment against civilians in Gaza, including the immediate lifting of the blockade and the opening of the crossings to goods and people;
• Allow access of the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding commission to Israel and to Israeli political and military officials to conduct its investigation into all violations committed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza;
• Dismantle and freeze the expansion of settlements and outposts in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;
• Seek an end to restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the OPT and to cease Israeli policies of land confiscation and home demolition in the West Bank, particularly in and around East Jerusalem;
• Ensure that practices amounting to the torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees by General Security Service (GSS or Shabak) interrogators immediately cease in accordance with the newly released concluding observations of May 2009 of the UN Committee Against Torture;
• Put an end to arbitrary detentions and especially to administrative detention, and detention under the unlawful combatants’ law, which severely violate the due process rights of detainees;
• Promote and respect the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, as well as their rights to equitable and fair land allocation, land planning and housing;
• Not support the racist and discriminatory laws recently proposed by the Knesset;
• Resume its stalled human rights dialogue with the EU and to set up as soon as possible a full fledged EU-Israel human rights subcommittee.

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