Ronan L Tynan
Leading Israeli novelist AB Yehoshua appeals to the European Union to become active and help put real pressure to bring about the long awaited ‘2 State Solution’ to end the Israel Palestinian conflict. Speaking on BBC Newsnight Yehoshua said Israel’s peace movement are angry with the EU not doing enough, as everyone knows it is much more complicated for the United States to play a decisive role.
Meanwhile, a number of MEPs from all of the major parties in the European Parliament have written to the EU Commission calling for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association agreement unless Israel makes urgent moves to stop her war crimes and gross human rights abuses which are in clear violation of Article 2. The 63 MEPs reminded the Commission that already 300 human rights groups, trade unions and political parties have requested the suspension of the Association Agreement, noting that Amnesty International and Palestinian organisations have documented that Israel targeted civilians and committed war crimes in its recent murderous assault on Gaza, and that these are “serious violations of international law and international humanitarian law that cannot be tolerated.”
Welcoming the fact the EU has “rightly condemned” Israel’s construction of illegal settlements the MEPs noted that such condemnation has had no impact on Israeli policy. The MEPs also said that various UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council, have repeatedly condemned Israel’s violations of international law. At the same time, Article 2 of the Association Agreement is quite unambiguous stating that relations between the EU and Israel must “be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles”. However, EU inaction the MEPs argue sends Israel a very clear message – violations of Article 2 will be tolerated.
Urging the Commission to take strong action to support a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians the MEPs demand at the very least that steps are taken to ensure that the EU and its member states meet their legal obligation, as set out in the 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice, not to render recognition, aid or assistance to Israeli violations of international law, including by imposing restrictive measures on trade and economic relations that facilitate the ongoing existence and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.”
Inaction by the European Commission make all of us as European citizens complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. All the more serious, as AB Yehoshua maintains because we are only fooling ourselves if we think the United States will bring pressure on Israel. This means the EU now has an historic opportunity to make a difference for peace using the Association Agreement, and the failure of Netanyahu and his government to comply with its human rights provisions.
Ronan L Tynan