As a Palestinian organisation dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), we would like to bring to your attention the far reaching international human rights and humanitarian law repercussions that this agreement will have for the Palestinian population. These repercussions flow from the legal deficiencies in the agreement, linked to its illegal extraterritorial application. We also wish to bring to your attention the EU’s own obligation to ensure that Israel’s human rights and humanitarian law record is taken into consideration in the EU’s bilateral relations with Israel.
The ACAA agreement provides that the EU and Israel must nominate a responsible authority to ensure the conformity of industrial products. They will also determine the territory covered by this authority. This is highly problematic as Israel considers that illegal settlements and annexed Palestinian territories are part of its sovereign territory. As such, the Israeli-nominated authority could exert authority over the OPT. Thus far, the EU and Israel have failed to provide mutual legally binding guarantees which would ensure that Israeli authorities do not apply the agreement to the OPT. The agreement should not be consented to until such legal guarantees are clearly provided. .
An affirmative vote from the EP would effectively disregard Israel’s violations of international law – violations which the EP itself recognised in its 5 July 2012 Resolution on EU Policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The EP has emphasised the importance of taking into consideration a Israel’s compliance with international law in developing bilateral relations, by stressing in the same resolution that “Israel's commitment to respect its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law towards the Palestinian population must be taken into full consideration in the EU's bilateral relations with the country”.
The vote on ACAA is a significant opportunity for the Parliament to stay true to its own resolution and its commitment to international law. In many ways, the EP is able to function as a bulwark which ensures that the EU prioritises adherence to international law – especially where development of bilateral relations through an agreement such as ACAA is misrepresented as simply a trade-related ‘technical agreement’, without any implications for international law.
Based on the above, Al-Haq calls upon the EP to reaffirm its commitment to ensure respect for international law in the OPT, and to reject ACAA until the necessary safeguards are established clearly deliminating the territory covered in the agreement.
Nada Kiswanson van Hooydonk
EU Advocacy Officer
For more information, Please contact:
EU Advocacy Officer/Legal Researcher
The Netherlands and Brussels Office:
Tel: 0031(0)616730784 / 0032(0)472028216
P.O Box: 1413
54 Main Street 2nd and 3rd Floor, Saint Andrews Evangelical Church
Palestine - Ramallah - West Bank