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From the field

Israeli human rights organizations to EU: Use Association Council meeting to stop settlements and open Gaza

On the occasion of the 9th EU-Israel Association Council meeting on 15 June '09, three prominent Israeli human rights organizations call upon the EU to link the upgrade of EU-Israel relations to respect for human rights and the rule of law.

In their letter to the EU Foreign Ministers, the organizations emphasized that the shared values of democracy and the rule of law lie at the heart of EU-Israel relations. These values must receive tangible expression, both in the bilateral relationship and in diplomatic efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Specifically, both Israel and the EU must take concrete steps to promote and respect human rights and international humanitarian law. 

The three organizations, therefore, call upon the EU to use the Association Council meeting to explicitly link the upgrade process to Israeli demonstration of tangible improvements in the protection of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Territories, including:

  • An immediate halt to all construction in the settlements and any other permanent changes in occupied territory;
  • An immediate end to the closure of the Gaza Strip; 
  • Cessation of house demolitions;
  • Initiation of a criminal investigation into every allegation of torture or ill-treatment of Palestinians in Israeli interrogations;
  • Impartial accountability mechanisms for human rights violations, including those committed during the most recent offensive in Gaza; 
  • Full cooperation with the UN fact-finding mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone.

According to the organizations, the Association Council meeting is a crucial opportunity for the EU to play a key role in the promotion of a process that will offer peace, dignity and security to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Participating organizations: HaMoked, Center for the Defence of the Individual; Physicians for Human Rights-Israel; and B'Tselem: the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.