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|In their own words||“Voluntary human rights-based partnership that draws on the disciplines of law, economics, commerce and trade policy to address problems of international human rights and international humanitarian law enforcement and issues of third state responsibility.”|
- Active in conflicts with Israel during the 1980s. Claims “Successful MATTIN Group effort to coax Israel’s key trading partners (the EC, the US and EFTA) into reversing their de facto acceptance of Israel’s administrative annexation of the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, establishing separate regimes for trading with Palestinian exporters, and overcoming Israel’s refusal to permit direct Palestinian agricultural exports.”
- Active in promoting use of EU trade sanctions against Israel – see details below
Key member: Charles Shamas, Senior Partner:
- Co-founder of Al-Haq. Established Al-Haq’s “international enforcement” project and served on Al-Haq’s Executive Committee until 1991.
- Currently a member of the Middle East–North Africa advisory board of Human Rights Watch.
- Author and co-author of several articles and analytical reports on IHL, EU external relations and trade-related subjects.
- Co-founded the Palestinian Trade Promotion Organisation and served as a member of its Executive Committee and acting Executive Director.
- Advised the PLO/PNA on IHL-related diplomacy, and attended the expert meeting convened by Switzerland in 1999 as a member of the Palestinian delegation.
- Compares Israeli policy to “apartheid” and “genocide,” and distorts IHL to erase Palestinian terror (what he calls “resistance”). Further manipulates international law, describing Palestinian terrorism as: “an uprising of large elements of a civilian population against an Occupying Power’s unlawful and predatory abuses of its control over that population and their habitat.”
Primary activity: Leadership in lobbying against EU-Israel relations:
- Charles Shamas from the Mattin Group, an organisation based in the West Bank that monitors Europe’s relationship with Israel, said that the EU has been helping to accommodate the economic blockade of Gaza. This is despite how the Union’s most senior diplomats, including its foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, have condemned the blockade as ‘collective punishment’ of a civilian population. Collective punishment constitutes a war crime, according to the 1949 Geneva convention. “The European Union has to give aid lawfully,” said Shamas. “That means a good faith effort not to conform to the wrongful acts of others. In this case, the EU is giving effect to wrongful measures by Israel. You can’t really credibly call on Israel to correct its behaviour if you are adjusting what you do to fit in to that behaviour.” (David Cronin, “Mideast: ‘EU Paying for Gaza Blockade,” IPS, February 20, 2009)
- “The work of the MATTIN Group has been heavily focused on strategic law-based lobbying and advocacy efforts. In partnership with several European NGOs the MATTIN Group has launched several interventions aimed at promoting greater consistency between the EU’s management of its relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the one hand, and its human rights obligations on the other.”
- In May 2007, organized a series including a session on “the workings of the European Union and how we can make it more accountable to International Humanitarian Law.”
- In an April 2007 Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) seminar entitled, “What is the impact of the EU-Israel Action Plan on Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories?” Susan Rockwell presented “recommendations on how NGOs can promote the respect of human rights in the framework of EU-Israel relations,” including an examination of “passive enforcement in the lobby process and focus on the EU obligations under EU law as well as public international law.”
- “Israel’s lawless abuses of power anger, but come as no political shock to the Palestinian public. The readiness of third parties like the EU, which regularly proclaims its attachment to international law, to reach political compromises with Israel that accommodate its illegal policies, shakes up Palestinian confidence in a much more fundamental sense.” (“The EU crisis and the Middle East,” Bitterlemons, July 21, 2005)
- In 2005, Susan Rockwell and Charles Shamas wrote a draft document for the EMHRN, promoting the use of human rights allegations as a source of pressure in EU relations with Israel.