EU must hold Israel to its agreements

I was asked to sign the following letter, published in the London Guardian on January 5 (I’m the ‘Australia 1’ at the bottom of the page):

Despite the EU’s call for a ceasefire, the brutal Israeli bombing of Gaza continues (Reports, 3 January). Nonetheless, the EU is preparing to upgrade its existing agreement to give Israel even more privileged access to European institutions.

In December, the council of ministers voted to support this upgrade, ignoring the fact that Israel was in breach of an “essential element” of the earlier agreement. This required states to respect “human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this agreement”. The proposed upgrade is even weaker and includes no obligations on Israel in respect of its illegal settlements, the illegal wall, and its repeated breaches of international human rights and international humanitarian law.

In view of the horrific events of the past days, we call on: 1) The UK government to revoke its support for any new agreements with Israel and for this to be communicated forthwith to the Czech presidency of the EU in advance of its meeting with the commission, and to the EU council of ministers 2) The European parliament to refuse to endorse any extension of existing agreements and to use its influence to prevent any upgrades of EU benefits to Israel until it abides by its international legal and humanitarian obligations.