EU-Israel Association Council – EU should not sacrifice human rights in the name of reviving relations

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Mr Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ Vice-President of the European Commission

Mr Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights

After being put on hold for the past 10 years, the EU-Israel Association Council is set to take place against the backdrop of systematic human rights violations and the Israeli authorities’ persistent and increasingly brazen disregard for EU human rights concerns.

Carrying on with business as usual while the Israeli authorities escalate their crackdown on Palestinian human rights and further entrench a cruel system of oppression and domination would embolden not just the Israeli authorities, but rights-abusing governments across the globe. At a time when the international human rights system faces unprecedented challenges, such short-sighted approaches would only reproduce past policy mistakes, while sabotaging the EU’s own human rights policy and its credibility as an international actor.

On 23 September Amnesty International’s wrote to the High Representative Borrell and EU Foreign Affairs Ministers outlining our main concerns and recommendations ahead of this meeting:

  1. Publicly and unequivocally denounce the Israeli authorities’ systematic human rights violations and crimes under international law, as well as Israel’s persistent disregard for EU human rights concerns
  2. Reiterate that measurable progress in human rights and respect for international humanitarian law are central to EU-Israel bilateral relations and insist on tangible steps from the Israeli authorities towards meaningful human rights improvements.
  3. Undertake a comprehensive review of EU-Israel bilateral relations to ensure consistency with the EU’s commitments and obligations under international law and take mitigating measures to ensure the EU’s dealings are not contributing to facilitating the crime of apartheid or other crimes under international law.
  4. Hold the Israeli authorities to account and support avenues to bring perpetrators of crimes under international law to justice.