Following similar calls by Palestinian rights groups and European trade unions in the fall of 2014, a group of European Parliament members (MEPs) issued a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on 23 January, requesting termination of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, originally agreed by the EU in November 1994 as a nod to Israel’s signing of the Declaration of Principles and implementation of early empowerment of the Palestinian Authority. Drawn from the parliament’s five largest political blocs, the majority of the 63 signatories (who constitute less than 10% of the total 751 MEPs) represent green and leftist parties. The association agreement enables largely unrestricted trade between EU countries and Israel and allows Israel to participate in a number of EU programs.
The letter came in response to Israel’s summer onslaught against Gaza, and argues that upholding the association agreement tacitly accepts Israel’s human rights violations. In addition to ending the agreement, the letter also calls upon the EU to initiate “restrictive measures” on economic relations that enable the existence and growth of settlements.
While the EU condemned Israel’s attack on Gaza in official statements, it has taken no real action in response to Operation Protective Edge. Like the draft EU sanctions (see Doc. A2 above), this letter represents a shift in the dialogue on Israel among European parliamentary officials.
Below is the text of the letter, made public by the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine, an umbrella group of 52 European organizations and solidarity campaigns with Palestine. The letter with a full list of signatories is available at www.eccpalestine.org.