(Brussels, 27 July 2012) This week the EU announced it would strengthen its bilateral relations with Israel by endorsing a package of 60 new areas of cooperation. Amnesty International regrets that this decision has been taken without giving due consideration to the need to seriously address ongoing violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. This move is at odds with both commitments made by the EU in its revised European Neighbourhood Policy and the recently approved Human Rights package.
“International human rights and humanitarian obligations should be at the centre of EU relations with all countries, including Israel” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “Enhancing relations whilst the EU’s own demands and benchmarks are not being met is a clear case of double standards and sends the wrong message.”
During this week’s meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council, the EU did not use its dialogue with the Israeli Foreign Minister to raise pressing issues such as ongoing violations of international law. The EU once again failed to address the widespread impunity for violations committed by Israeli military and security forces, including those perpetrated during Operation Cast Lead. The killing of civilians and various allegations of torture and other cruel or inhuman treatment are yet to be investigated in an impartial and thorough manner. The EU also turned a blind eye to the increasingly perilous situation of Sub-Saharan migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, which has recently seen the authorities initiate a mass deportation of African migrants as well as a dramatic rise in racially motivated violence.
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