Creating new perspectives since 2009

British advocacy group raises concerns over EU-Israel upgrade

January 30, 2014 at 11:28 pm

The British Muslim advocacy group iEngage has written to Foreign Secretary William Hague raising concerns over the recent EU decision to upgrade bilateral relations between the EU and Israel. Shenaz Bunglawala, the group’s Head of Research, notes that the decision by the EU was “incredulous” given that both the EU and the British Government have voiced concerns over continued building of illegal settlements by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as a rise in settler violence.

The letter comes in the wake of the decision at the end of July by the EU to upgrade bilateral relations between the two parties. The move stopped short of a full upgrade of the EU-Israel preferential trade agreement, of which talks of an upgrade were put on hold following Operation Cast Lead in 2008/09. Widespread concern about the upgrade was raised following the EU’s decision, noting that this conflicted with the EU’s position on Israel’s illegal settlement activity.

The group noted their concerns that they have raised previously regarding the Israel Palestine conflict and its impact on British Muslims, specifically “the risk of radicalisation”, commenting that there was a perception of inconsistency towards Israel by the Government amongst British Muslims. A response from Hague has not yet been published.