Dozens of European trade unions have urged authorities to ban trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
In a letter to the European Commission and European governments, the unions demand “effective action to bring an end to European complicity with human rights abuses associated with illegal Israeli settlements and to introduce a ban on economic activities with illegal Israeli settlements”.
According to the European Trade Union Initiative for Justice in Palestine, the 34 signatories represent millions of workers across Europe, including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Belgium’s ACV/CSC Brussels and La Centrale Générale FGTB, as well as Britain’s Unison and Unite the Union.
Although the European Union (EU) views Israeli settlements as illegal under international law, Brussels still allows Israel to export large quantities of products produced or partly produced in such settlements to Europe, providing direct support to the settlement expansion.
Last week, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice said that European shops ought to label Israeli settler exports so that consumers can boycott them for “ethical reasons”.
“This opinion highlights the fact that European governments are falling short on their obligations under international law. To be consistent with its own legislation the EU and all European states should go further and end all economic relations with illegal Israeli settlements”, stated Koen Vanbrabandt, a chair of European Trade Union Network for Justice in Palestine.
The trade unions argue that the EU as a whole and its member states are obliged to withhold from trading with Israeli settlements as part of their duties of non-recognition and non-assistance to such grave violations of international law.
“The fundamental values of trade union internationalism mandate us to take concrete and effective action to facilitate the implementation of UN resolutions, international legal obligations, and a just and equitable peace for all”, state the signatories.