More than 200 civil society organisations demand the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement

Mar 19, 2024

The CADTM and over 200 civil society organisations are calling on European Union (EU) decision-makers to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement without delay, in light of the human rights violations committed by the State of Israel.

Paris, 12 March 2024. Respect for human rights is an essential element of the EU’s association agreements with partner countries. Article 2 states that “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”. Violation of the so-called “essential elements” clauses allows the EU to denounce or suspend the agreements in whole or in part under Article 60 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. In the light of the deaths and suffering endured by the Palestinian people, the European Union has the duty and the means to act to prevent Israel’s crimes in Gaza and to reduce the extent of human suffering.

Read the Open Letter below, adressed to:

President Ursula von der Leyen, Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission
Mr Charles Michel, President of the European Council
Ms Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Mr Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Dear Madams/Sirs,

The undersigned organisations call on the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement in light of the violation of human rights by the State of Israel. These human rights violations constitute a violation of the ‘’essential elements’’ clauses which state that the Agreement is conditional upon the parties’ respect for human rights and democratic principles. We unequivocally condemn all violations of international law, in particular the killing of civilians and call on the relevant authorities to investigate them without delay .

Israel’s current war on Gaza is causing massive civilian casualties, extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure and the displacement of the overwhelming majority of the population in Gaza. The health system in Gaza has collapsed, hospitals have been bombed and destroyed, health staff killed. The population of Gaza is at imminent risk of famine and death by contagious disease. This is the result of the bombardment of Gaza and blockage by Israel of food, water, fuel, medicines, humanitarian aid and disruption of the sewage system. These are clear, well-documented violations of the human rights of Palestinians.

Human rights abuses by the Israel government did not start in 2023, however. The United Nations Human Rights Council has concluded that prior to this period grave human rights abuses have been committed. The establishment and expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank is among these human rights violations, leading to, among others, the expropriation of private land owned by Palestinians, racial segregation due to the forced eviction of Palestinians and the demolition of their property, a climate of impunity for perpetrators of settler violence and the involvement of Israeli security forces in such violence, and restrictions of freedom of movement for Palestinians. The European Council expressed its concerns over the blockade of the Gaza strip (prior to October 2023) and called on military operations to be proportionate, in line with international humanitarian law and for Israel to ease restrictions in the Gaza strip.

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The EU considers respect for human rights to constitute an essential element of EU association agreements with partner countries. The provisions of the EU-Israel Association Agreement states that the parties establish the association “considering the importance which the Parties attach…[ ] to the principles of the United Nations Charter, particularly the observance of human rights and democracy, which form the very basis of the Association;”… and Article 2 states that “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.”

The violation of the so-called “essential elements” clauses enables the EU to terminate or suspend fully or partially the agreements, in accordance with Article 60 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Article 82 of the Association Agreement provides that “Each of the Parties may denounce the Agreement by notifying the other Party.”

In spite of the above mentioned, and other well-documented violations of human rights and democratic principles by the State of Israel, its economy continues to enjoy privileged access to the EU market through the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Trade between the EU and Israel has increased substantially since the signing of the agreement in 2000. The EU is Israel’s biggest trade partner, accounting for 28.8% of its trade in goods in 2022.

According to EU official policy outlined in the ’Common Approach on the use of political clauses’, agreed by Coreper in 2009, “serious breaches of the essential elements clauses may trigger the suspension in whole or part of the overall framework agreement and all the linked agreements, including the trade agreement (non-execution clause).” There can be no denying that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians constitutes at the very least, a serious breach of the human rights clauses in the EU-Israel Association Agreement. It would appear that any political and human rights dialogue that the EU has held with Israel has not been e ective in preventing these violations, war crimes and other crimes against humanity.

On the 26th of January 2024, the International Court of Justice ruled that the at least some of the accusations by South Africa that Israel is committing genocide are plausible. The judges established that it is appropriate to investigate the evidence presented, accept the charges and dismissed Israel’s call to reject the trial. The court ordered Israel to take measures to prevent a possible genocide in progress that include allowing more humanitarian aid into Gaza and acting against those who issue genocidal statements. Though the nal verdict is yet unknown, the fact that the ICJ considered South Africa’s claims as ‘plausible’ and has issued provisional measures against Israel should raise serious alarm bells in the EU. Regardless of the nal ruling of the ICJ, the provisional ruling has direct implications for third party states to the Genocide Convention, to employ all lawful means at their disposal to in uence Israel to refrain from acts in breach of the Genocide Convention, including the withholding, reduction, or suspension of any and all forms of assistance, or the suspension or review of trade negotiations and agreements.”

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What is currently happening in Gaza is the consequence of a political and moral failure of the international community. Suspension of the Association Agreement over the violation of the Agreement’s human rights clauses would send a strong message that the EU’s commitment to human rights is more than just rhetoric.

We urge you to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement without delay.

Sincerely,

See the signatories

International

ActionAid International
CADTM International – Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt
Fédération internationale pour les droits humains
GRAIN
Oxfam

Europe

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
ECCP – European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine
Ekō
European Coordination of La Via Campesina
European Trade Union Network for Justice in Palestine

Allemagne

BIP-jetzt e.V.
Deutsch-Palästinensische Gesellschaft e.V.
Flüchtlingskinder im Libanon e.V.
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Germany
Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Group Munich
Palestine Solidarity Committee Stuttgart

Autriche :

Attac Autriche

Belgique

Belgian Academics and Artists for Palestine (BA4P)
Broederlijk Delen
CADTM Belgique
CNCD-11.11.11
De-Colonizer
Entraide & Fraternité
Grupo belga Solidair met Guatemala Intal
MOC (Mouvement Ouvrier Chrétien) Solsoc
SOUTIEN BELGE OVERSEAS
Viva Salud
Eurochild

Espagne

Aliança per l’emergència climàtica València (País Valencià)
Alternativa Antimilitarista MOC
AMAL – Asociación Madrileña de Ateos y Librepensadores
Amigos de la Tierra
Arrels – Associació Cultural i Medi Ambiental
Asamblea Antibelicista de Teruel
Asamblea Antimilitarista Madrid
Asamblea Ciudadana Gana Guadix
Asamblea Plaza de los Pueblos Madrid
Asdecoba
Asociación AcTúa por un Mundo Sostenible
Asociación Canaria de Juristas por la Paz y los Derechos Humanos – JUPADEHU
Asociación Comunidad Palestina en Canarias
Asociación Cultural “La Moravilla”
Asociación de Amistad con el Pueblo Saharaui de Sevilla
Asociación de Juristas Afroeuropeos – Ajae
Asociación de la Comunidad Hispano-Palestina “Jerusalén”
Asociación Democracia y Salud
Asociación Feministas San Blas Canillejas
Asociación Iniciativa Cambio Personal, Justicia Global
Asociación Internacional de Juristas por Sáhara Occidental – IAJUWS
Asociación Madrileña de Enfermería Gerontológica – AMEG
Asociación Madrileña de Salud Pública (AMaSaP)
Asociación para la Defensa de la Sanidad Pública de Madrid
Asociación para la Defensa de las Pensiones Públicas de Canarias
Asociación Pueblos Vivos Cuenca
Asociación Sapiencia
Asociación Taller Educación en Valores Alternativos (CALA)
Asociación Uyamaa
Assemblea 15M Sarrià-Sant Gervasi (Catalonia)
ATTAC España
Avance Solidario
Bicicletos Viajes
Bienvenidxs Refugiadxs Huesca
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Canarias
Centro Social Tiritanas Comunal
CGT – Confederación General del Trabajo
Col.lectiu Agudells (Catalonia)
Colectivo “Antifascistas Elsa Wolff”
Colectivo “Pasaje Seguro Cantabria”
Colectivo Noviolencia
Comando Violeta – Colectivo Feminista de Cuenca
Comisiones Obreras (CCOO)
Comité de Solidaridad con la Causa Árabe
Comité de Solidaridad con los Pueblos – Interpueblos Cantabria
Comité Oscar Romero
Comunidad Hispano Palestina en Sevilla
Comunidad Santo Tomás de Aquino
Confederación Intersindical
Confederación Intersindical Galega (CIG) (Galicia)
Coordinadora Estatal por la Defensa del Sistema Público de Pensiones – Córdoba
Cristianos de Base
Dones x Dones
Ecologistas en Acción
ELA (Basque Country)
Entrepueblos/Entrepobles/Entrepobos/Herriarte
Feministas Usera
Fridays for Future Spain
Fundación Aequitas
Fundacion Atabal
Grupo Cristiano de Reflexión-Acción
Grupo de Noviolencia Elaia
Grupo de Reflexión y Formación Cristiana de Gerena (Sevilla)
Huesca con Palestina
Iniciativas de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo – ICID
Intersindical de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de Aragón (ISTA)
Intersindical Solidària (País Valencià)
La Comuna – Asociación de presos y represaliados por la dictadura franquista
LAB sindikatua (Basque Country)
Llegat Jaume Botey i Vallès (Catalonia)
Lurgatz Talde Feminista (Basque Country)
Madrid Solidaria con Palestina
Madrileños por el Derecho a Decidir
Médicos del Mundo
Movimiento No Violencia
Naturaca
Novact
Observatori DESC (Catalonia)
Organización Nacional para el Diálogo y la Participación – ONDA
Plataforma “Alicante por la Paz”
Plataforma Aturem la Guerra (Catalonia)
Plataforma ciudadana “Stop Mare Mortum”
Plataforma Ciudadana de Córdoba por la Defensa del Sistema Público de Pensiones
Plataforma Córdoba con Palestina
Plataforma de Sanitari@s con Palestina
Plataforma de Tenerife con Palestina
Red de Solidaridad Popular de Jinámar
Reds – Red de solidaridad para la transformación social (Catalonia)
Respeto Animal Murcia
Revista Alandar
Revista La Mar de Onuba
Revuelta Mujeres en la Iglesia
Rubí Solidari (Catalonia)
Rumbo a Gaza
Saharacciones Tenerife (Canarian Islands)
SETEM Catalunya (Catalonia)
Sindicato de Admnistración Pública de CGT Alicante
Sindicato de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de la Administración de Castilla y León – STACYL
Sociedad Española de Profesorado y Plataforma de Filosofía (SEPFi)
SUDS – Associació Internacional de Solidaritat i Cooperació (Catalonia)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Yayoflautas de Córdoba
ZAMBRA
Zehar-Errefuxiatuekin (Basque Country)

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Finlande

Friends of the Earth Finland

France

ActionAid France
AITEC
Amis de la Terre France
Amis de Sabeel France
Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)
Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
Attac
BDS France
CADTM France
CCFD-Terre Solidaire
CGT
CJACP
Collectif Stop Mercosur
Confédération paysanne
Culture de Palestine
Fédération Artisans du Monde
Fédération internationale pour les droits humains
Foodwatch France
Ligue des droits de l’Homme
MRAP (Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’Amitié entre les peuples)
Nature et Solidarité
Pax Christi France
Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine
Solidaires
UDMF
UJFP
La Cimade
Syndicat de l’éducation nationale SNES

Grèce

Naturefriends Greece
Greek Affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)

Irlande

Afri (Action from Ireland)
Centre for Global Education Christian Aid Ireland
Comhlamh Trade Justice
Cork Palestine Solidarity Campaign Financial Justice Ireland
Fracking Free Clare
Friends of the Earth Ireland
Ireland Palestine Mental Health Network
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Irish Council for Civil Liberties
Not Here Not Anywhere
Sadaka – The Ireland Palestine Alliance
Síolta Chroí
STAND & Suas Educational Development

Irlande du Nord

Unison NI

Italie

NWRG

Luxembourg

Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient

Pays-Bas

Handel Anders! coalitie
MiGreat
Overijssel voor Palestina
PAX
Rotterdam Palestina Coalitie
SOMO
Stichting Groningen-Jabalya
Transnational Institute (TNI)

Pologne 

Polish Zero Waste Association

Portugal

Panteras Rosa – Frente de Combate à LesBiGayTransfobia
TROCA – Plataforma por um Comércio Internacional Justo

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