Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign

 

Welcome to the Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website. Last updated: 17 January, 2010

European Parliamentary Elections 2009

Write to all the candidates in your region

Background and Update on EUIAA Upgrade if you don’t want to use the sample letter:

If Tuesday’s Guardian is to be believed, the May 18th meeting of the EU- Israel Association Council has been postponed until next month, presumably until after the European Parliament elections. Now, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is currently doing a tour of the pro-Israeli EU countries (France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic) to try and end the current freeze on the EUIAA upgrade. Israel was particularly incensed at Benita Ferrero Waldner’s recent announcement that the upgrade is dependent on the Netanyahu administration’s willingness to negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of a 2 state solution. In response, Lieberman has threatened to expel the EU from the Quartet – and sack them from further ‘peace’ negotiations.  

These developments make our letter writing campaign during the next month even more crucial. We know that it was pressure from civil society groups and individuals that caused the halt to the upgrade process.  We now need to lobby Miliband, Ferrero Waldner and our MEPs even more urgently, not only to ensure that the upgrade sanction remains in place, but also to back the call by some EU countries, and by a growing number of MEPs, for a complete suspension of the EUIAA until Israel abides by the human rights requirements in Article 2 – see earlier Action Alert below for details

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Why Lobby the EU?

The European Union (EU), its Commission and  Parliament (EP) must be a major target for our political campaign.  The EU has, from the beginning, played a crucial role in the West’s almost unqualified support for the Zionist policies of successive Israeli governments. It has consistently failed to uphold the rights of the Palestinians embodied in International Law and, more recently, has failed to use its membership of the Quartet (EU, UN, US and Russia) to press for a just settlement for the Palestinian people under the so- called  ‘Road Map for Peace’.

While denouncing the Occupation and the Apartheid Wall as illegal, the EU’s Council of Ministers (the 27 Foreign Ministers) has, at the same time, entered in to a succession of agreements that give Israel preference in trade agriculture, technology, scientific research, security, education culture etc- agreements that give Israel profound financial benefits at the expense of the EU taxpayer.

The EU- Israel Association Agreement (EUIAA)

 Since 2000, the EU Israel Association Agreement (EUIAA) has promoted strong trade, business and cultural ties between Israel and the EU. Today, 30% of Israel’s exports go to the EU under preferential trade tariffs.

Article 2 of the Agreement  states “ Relations between the parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement”.
This condition has never been enforced and, in December 2008, the Council of Ministers voted to upgrade the EUIAA. Work on the practical details, the Action Plan, began and the European Commission (EC) gave an undertaking to the last Israeli government that it would not include any  human rights provisions. Work on the Action Plan was suspended at the outbreak of the Gaza massacres, but could be restarted at any time. The current Action plan for the existing agreement expires in April and there will be pressure to replace it. So, despite Gaza, and despite  the new Israeli government’s rejection of Annapolis and the  2 state solution, both of which are central to the EU’s position on the conflict,  the next scheduled meeting with the Israeli  government will still take place on May 18th  (the EU- Israel Association Council) at which the conditions of the upgrade will be discussed.  

The 2004 EU- Israel Action Plan  (under European Neighbourhood Policy)
This sets objectives aimed at intensifying political, security, economic, scientific and cultural relations with Israel and also ‘shared  responsibility for conflict prevention and conflict resolution’.  The policy is based on the principle that
 “The EU and Israel share common values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law and basic freedoms. Both parties are committed to the struggle against all forms of anti-semitism, racism and xenophobia. Historically and culturally, there exists a great natural and common heritage. Thus we strive to build bridges and networks.”

 Just before the outbreak of the Gaza massacres, the EP decided to suspend the vote on whether or not to include Israel in the EU’s Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development. This issue also constitutes ‘unfinished business’ and could also be restarted at any time. Inclusion in this progamme is important to Israel so this refusal is significant.

Lobbying by letter
1. The European Commissioner, Ms Benita Ferrero-Waldner (fax number 003222981299, email address: benita.ferrero-waldner@ec.europa.eu). Copy your letter to your MEPs.
2. MEPs (www.writetothem.com) and candidates for the EU elections( www.europarl.org.uk from May 8th)
3. The Foreign Secretary, The Rt Hon  David Miliband MP, House of Commons, London SW1A OAA