EU-Israel Summit: Occupation is No Basis for Cooperation

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, along with the Palestinian Al-Haq human rights organization, held a press conference on Monday during the EU-Israel Association Council meeting to highlight Israeli human-rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories and argued that the EU is supporting Israeli impunity.

The EU-Israel Association Council is a forum aimed at facilitating political dialogue and strengthening cooperation with Israel. The last Association Council meeting was held in 2012 and further gatherings were paused after Israeli authorities objected to the EU’s position regarding occupied West Bank settlements.

Ahead of the meeting, Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s EU office, said: “Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians. This is a crime against humanity requiring the EU to hold Israel’s leaders to account, and to ensure it in no way supports their apartheid system. Any cooperation must focus on dismantling Israel’s cruel system of oppression and domination.”

Armed Israeli Border Police forces indifferently secure the site of a house demolition in the occupied West Bank, Monday, October 3, 2022 (Photo WAFA)

“The European Union and its member states should condemn Israeli authorities’ crimes against humanity,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday. The EU and its member states should also press Israeli authorities to end the crackdown on Palestinian civil society. “European officials should know they’ll be shaking hands with representatives of a government committing crimes against humanity and that has outlawed prominent civil society groups challenging these abuses,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at HRW. “Pretending it’s business as usual with Israel amid escalating repression sends the message that EU condemnation is worth little more than the paper it’s written on.”

For years, the EU and its member states have responded to Israeli authorities’ serious abuses by repeating empty platitudes about the long-moribund “peace process” and the need to revive prospects for, “a two-state solution.” This approach overlooks the reality of apartheid and persecution on the ground and leads the EU and its member states to fail to take the human rights measures that a situation of this gravity warrants, HRW said.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh today yesterday the international community to hold Israel, the occupying power, directly responsible for the dangerous and bloody escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories and for the rise in the serious violations of the Palestinians’ human rights.

Speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah, the Prime Minister called on the international community to exert real pressure on the occupying state to immediately stop the escalation, calling on the international community and the European Union to link relations and cooperation and partnership agreements with Israel, as an occupying power, to the extent of its commitment to international law, United Nations resolutions, and human rights principles.

“Any progress in relations between the European Union and the occupying country, without linking it to international law and human rights, would be an undeserved reward, and would encourage Israel to persist in its oppressive and racist policies, and human rights violations,” said the PM. He called on the countries that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine, particularly the European Union member states, to recognize the State of Palestine so as to protect the two-state solution and to strengthen Palestinian-European partnership.

The Prime Minister also expressed concern over statements by the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and her written commitment, circulated to members of the Friends of Israel in the Conservative Party, to reassess the location of the British Embassy in Israel for the purpose of moving it from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He stressed that the legal, political and religious status of Jerusalem is not subject to assessment and that any such step will be considered a flagrant violation of international law and of the historical responsibility of Britain, the country behind the infamous and illegal Balfour Declaration, which caused and continues to be responsible for the tragedy of the Palestinian people.