On July 24, 2012, the EU and Israel completed talks to increase trade and diplomatic cooperation in the framework of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. As with all such processes, the citizens of EU member countries and Israel mutually benefit from the economic, scientific, and diplomatic cooperation.
In contrast, a number of Europe-based, Palestinian, and Israeli political advocacy NGOs released statements condemning the EU for not using these negotiations to attempt to sanction Israel, including calls for freezing and retracting the Agreement. These statements are part of the NGO-led campaign to isolate Israel internationally through BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions), as adopted in the Durban NGO forum.
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICADH); “The EU’s Schizophrenic Attitude Towards Israel”; July 28, 2012
* ICAHD has been a recipient of EU funding since at least 1999, including a €169,661 grant that expired in February 2012.
- “All EU Member States and multinational organs must consider appropriate measures to exert pressure on Israel to end the prolonged occupation, including appropriate sanctions, and the severing of diplomatic relations. Further, ICAHD calls for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement until Israel complies with international law, and ends its illegal policies and practices and prolonged occupation.”
Christian Aid; letter in The Guardian from William Bell, policy and advocacy officer; July 24, 2012
* Christian Aid received €6 million in “new grants” from the EU in 2010-11.
- “It is wholly inappropriate that the EU should be announcing a strengthening of economic ties with Israel at a time when that country is expanding its illegal settlements in the West Bank and carrying out evictions and demolitions of Palestinian property...Christian Aid believes that illegal settlements will continue to expand unless action, such as excluding settlement trade from EU markets, is taken that backs statements of condemnation from the EU. Any consolidation or strengthening of ties should be conditional upon an end to settlement expansion.”
PCHRO; “The EU fails to uphold international law in its relations with Israel”; July 26, 2012
* PCHRO is a coalition of 11 Palestinian NGOs, including EU-funded groups Al-Dameer, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, and DCI-PS.
- “We welcomed the 14 May Council Conclusions which expressed “deep concern about developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible” and waited for words to turn into action from the EU’s side. The Association Council, the most high-level meeting to take place between the EU and Israel, is, however, a step backwards...As Palestinian human rights organisations, we are deeply disappointed with the EU’s decision to sideline human rights and humanitarian law when it suits the EU and Israel, and thus oppose the EU’s decision to effectively upgrade its relations with Israel.”
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN); “EU to Intensify Cooperation with Israel: Double Standards in Practice”; July 25, 2012
* EMHRN is an official EU body funded by European taxpayers.
- “The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) strongly condemns this double standard attitude that EU seems to be adopting in its dealings with Israel….The EMHRN regrets that these 60 activities [of EU-Israel cooperation] are not conditioned to any progress in Israel’s human rights record.”
Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI); “EU Critical of Israel’s Human Rights Violations While Strengthening Economic Cooperation”; July 27, 2012
* Adalah and PHR-I are completing a joint EU grant in July 2012.
- “the EU statement demonstrates an alarming inconsistency between practice and rhetoric...Mainstreaming these principles [human rights, deep democracy, and international law] in EU-Israel relations and concrete improvements in Israel’s human rights conduct on the ground must steer any enhancement of its trade relations with Israel.”
Amnesty International; “EU fails to put human rights at the heart of its relations with Israel”; July 27, 2012
- “Amnesty International regrets that this decision has been taken without giving due consideration to the need to seriously address ongoing violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories...During this week’s meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council, the EU did not use its dialogue with the Israeli Foreign Minister to raise pressing issues such as ongoing violations of international law. The EU once again failed to address the widespread impunity for violations committed by Israeli military and security forces, including those perpetrated during Operation Cast Lead.”
Oxfam International; “EU statements not helping to halt Israeli settlements”; July 24, 2012
* In 2010-11, the EU granted Oxfam International €65 million.
- “EU governments must match their words with urgent and concrete measures to push for an immediate end to settlement construction and the unlawful demolition of Palestinian civilian infrastructure.”