The EU should listen

A statement the often feckless European Union should notice:

On the occasion of the 9th EU-Israel Association Council on June 15 2009, three prominent Israeli human rights organizations call upon the EU to link the upgrade of EU-Israel relations to respect for human rights and the rule of law.

In their letter to the EU Foreign Ministers, the organizations emphasized that the shared values of democracy and the rule of law stand at the heart of the EU-Israel relationship. These values must be given tangible expression, both in the bilateral relationship as well as in diplomatic efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Specifically, both Israel and the EU must demonstrate concrete steps to promote and respect human rights and international humanitarian law.

The three organizations, therefore call upon the EU to use the Association Council meeting to explicitly link the upgrade process to Israeli demonstration of tangible improvements in human rights and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Territories, including:

  • An immediate halt to all construction in the settlements and any other permanent changes in occupied territory;
  • An immediate end to the closure of the Gaza Strip;
  • Cessation of house demolitions;
  • Initiation of a criminal investigation into every allegation of torture or ill-treatment of Palestinians in Israeli interrogations;
  • Impartial accountability mechanisms for human rights violations, including those committed during the most recent offensive in Gaza;
  • Full cooperation with the UN Fact-finding mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone.

According to the organizations, the Association Council meeting is a crucial opportunity for the EU to play a key role in the promotion of a process that will offer peace, dignity and security to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Patricipating orgazniations: HaMoked, Center for the Defence of the Individual, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and B’Tselem,: the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

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