On 7 February 2017, EuroMed Rights sent a letter and submission to the EU and the 28 Ministers of Foreign Affairs warning against the risks of convening an EU-Israel Association Council and further deepening relations with Israel in the coming months.
In her remarks following the 6 February EU Foreign Affairs Council, EU High Representative Mogherini stated that the EU had started the preparations for an Association Council with Israel. This step, together with the initiation of negotiations of EU-Israel Partnership Priorities, occurs as Israeli actions seek to undermine the international standards on which a long-term solution to the conflict is predicated.
Indeed, in recent months the Israeli government has massively expanded settlements and demolished homes in unprecedented numbers. Just yesterday, 6 February 2017, the Israeli Parliament approved the sweeping “Regularisation Law” which retroactively legalises settlement outposts illegally built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank. This represents a dangerous step towards the annexation of the West Bank.
Holding an Association Council in the current circumstances would be interpreted as a reward for Israel’s counterproductive policies and its failure to ensure respect for common values under the current EU-Israel Action Plan.
In light of recent developments, EuroMed Rights and its Israeli, Palestinian and European member organisations urge the EU to obtain assurances from the Israeli government before holding an Association Council and call for a robust European response which puts respect for international law at the centre of its policy.