European Union

THE EUROPEAN UNION AND ISRAEL

The European Union maintains a delegation to Israel: http://eeas.europa.eu/israel/index_en.htm

The preferential treatment given to Israel is conferred by the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA), adopted by the European Parliament on 23 October 2012. The Boycott National Committee has previously called for the earlier version of this agreement to be scrapped: “We are appalled by the EU’s blatant refusal to hold Israel to account for its persistent violations of human rights and international law … The EU is well aware of Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the massive colonisation of the latter; after all, the EU member-states have regularly voted for UN resolutions condemning Israel’s human rights violations, collective punishment and construction of settlements and the Wall.”

The EU is however quite clear that it does not recognise Israel’s occupation of land seized in 1967. In August 2008 it was stated by the Commission that goods produced in the occupied territories would not qualify for the preferential terms under the Agreement. In July 2013 the EU announced new funding guidelines that exclude any Israeli organisation based in the West Bank, Gaza or Golan Heights. Chapter and verse is in the EU’s official journal of 19 July 2013 and you can find it HERE (scroll down to page 9). Its preamble puts it simply: “The EU does not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over any of the territories referred to in point 2 (ie the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem) and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law”.

A more recent statement, concerning yet more proposed settlement expansion, was issued on 28 February 2020 by the EU’s High Representative: “The Israeli authorities have announced construction plans for new building units in Area E1, located east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank. This follows Israel’s announcement last week on the decision for settlement constructions in Giv’at Hamatos and Har Homa neighbourhoods south of Jerusalem. Tenders for Giv’at Hamatos have been published this week. Settlement construction in these areas will cut the geographic and territorial contiguity between East-Jerusalem and the West Bank. Construction in E1 will sever the connection between Northern and Southern West Bank.The EU reiterates its call on Israel to halt settlement construction, to suspend the publication of tenders and to refrain from any measures aimed at the advancement of such construction plans. Settlements are illegal under international law. We call on both parties to engage in a dialogue and to refrain from any unilateral action that undermines the viability of the two-state solution.”

This refusal to recognise West Bank settlements has given rise to a requirement that goods that come from West Bank settlements be labelled to that effect. The Israeli government is very upset about this, although it continues to benefit massively from the EU-Israel agreement.

THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE PALESTINIANS

The European Union maintains a delegation to the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’. http://eeas.europa.eu/occupied_palestinian_territory/index_en.htm

On 24 October 2012 the EU and the Palestinian Authority concluded a European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan. This gives the Palestinians nothing like the privileged position enjoyed by Israel. It is also unlikely to achieve anything significant while Israel keeps up its siege of Gaza and exercises a high level of control over the West Bank.

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Members of the European Parliament are elected by multi-member constituencies. As of 1 February 2020 the UK no longer has any seats in the European Parliament