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MEPs call for EU-wide ban on trade with 'illegal settlements'

A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]
A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 5 June 2015, calling to boycott products coming from Israeli settlements [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

A letter signed by 40 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) calls for preventing the entry of goods produced in "illegal" Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories into Europe.

MEP Billy Kelleher posted the letter on Twitter with a comment reading: "The EU must use its economic power to ensure adherence to international law."

The letter addresses the EU Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis and says: "We write to you with regard to the issue of produce entering the European Union from, and trade with, illegal settlements in territories deemed occupied by other states."

"We, a group of MEPs representing most of the European Parliament's political groups, believe that trade, and economic support for, illegal settlements in territories deemed occupied under international law should be banned by the Union."

Illegal settlements should not be supported economically if the European Union is to hold true to its values of respecting human rights, respecting international law and above all else, protecting the most vulnerable in society

the letter continued.

Signed by 40 MEPs, the letter reiterated that "the European Parliament, the High Representative for Foreign Relations, and many Member State governments have rightly criticised the actions of enormous foreign states in occupying adjoining territories illegally."

READ: Israeli infrastructure projects aid the de facto annexation of Palestinian land

Therefore, if they are unable to pushed these states to leave the occupied territories, the letter said: "We can use our soft power as a global trading bloc to exert influence, and yes, economic pressure, on those states flouting international law."

Stressing on the importance of taking steps forward, the letter said: "While some member states, for example Ireland, have sought their own solutions, we believe that the Union must act as one on this issue to show solidarity with these territories and to leverage our influence as a global trading bloc."

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