A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Executive Committee has called on the European Union to reconsider its relations with Israel in the light of its actions as an occupying power. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said that the EU should not give Israel preferential treatment which overlooks its deliberate, ongoing violations of signed agreements and international treaties.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, July 24, which was broadcast by the Palestinian Authority's media outlets ahead of the planned meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council in Brussels, Dr. Ashrawi said: "The European Union should compel Israel to comply with item No. (2) of the Euro-Mediterranean agreement, which conditions Israel's membership to its respect for the principles of human rights and democracy, and item (83), which prevents its application of the agreement on the areas occupied by Israel, and therefore excludes settlement products from them."
The veteran negotiator added: "This meeting is the right time to support the conclusions of the report of the European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers of May, which stressed the commitment of the European Union member states to the existing legislation and bilateral measures that are applicable to the illegal Israeli settlements and the economic activities on the borders of the 4th of June 1967, including East Jerusalem."
Ashrawi explained that despite the fact that the European Union theoretically did not raise the level of political ties with Israel, "it has developed cooperation between government agencies and sectors which are part of the current work plan, by giving Israel the maximum benefits and privileges". She noted that this would separate the legal and ethical dimension from the fields of trade and economy, and would allow the European Union to ignore Israel's unilateral violations of human rights legislation and conventions in the occupied Palestinian territories.
She also noted that the EU's decision to allow Israel to expand the scope of cooperation pertaining to drugs, in addition to the 49 other agreements, would give the ACAA in Israel's agreement an economic privilege and additional benefits, while, at the same time, hindering the monitoring of settlement products.
The meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council today (Wednesday), stressed Ashrawi, is an opportunity for the EU to ensure Israel's compliance with its international obligations under the bilateral economic cooperation agreement, and not to reward it by giving preferential treatment.