‘Scrap Israel trade agreement’
15 January 2009
War on Want hails EC move
The anti-poverty charity War on Want today urged the European Commission to follow up its decision to suspend moves to upgrade political and trade links with Israel by stopping the upgrade process altogether.
War on Want welcomed the EC freezing negotiations on upgrading ties amid growing pressure for sanctions against Israel over its attack on Gaza, with more than 1,000 Palestinian deaths, almost one in three women and children.
It also welcomed reports that senior Brussels officials say a Europe-Israel summit to launch a new “special relationship” – piloted by the Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency - would probably not take place.
And the charity pressed the commission to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement which already ensures preferential treatment for Israeli trade in Europe.
The new protocol of cooperation would enable far greater Israeli participation in European Community programmes.
War on Want opposes this step and the existing agreement, citing Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation, with millions of Palestinians suffering human rights abuse and crushing poverty in refugee camps or under occupation.
It earlier called on the EU to suspend the Association Agreement in order to bring pressure on Israel to abide by international law.
Article 2 of the Agreement makes Israel's trading preferences dependent on respect for human rights, a condition which UN specialists claim Israel has often breached.
Ruth Tanner, campaigns and policy director at War on Want, said: “It has taken Israel’s brutal assault and carnage in Gaza to persuade the commission to act. The suspension represents a positive initial development. Now the EC must use its leverage by ending the present Association Agreement.”
CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728