On 3 October, top EU officials will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in the first high-level meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council in over ten years. Ahead of the meeting, Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s EU office, said:
“Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians. This is a crime against humanity requiring the EU to hold Israel’s leaders to account, and to ensure it in no way supports their apartheid system. Any cooperation must focus on dismantling Israel’s cruel system of oppression and domination.
“The Israeli authorities are subjecting Palestinians to land seizures, unlawful killings, forcible transfers and severe movement restrictions while denying their humanity, equal nationality and status. The EU cannot claim shared human rights commitments with a state perpetrating apartheid and which has in recent months shuttered the offices of renowned Palestinian civil society organizations, scaled up the demolition of homes in the occupied West Bank, and carried out apparently unlawful attacks in the Gaza Strip.
“Discussions around EU-Israel’s relations have been on hold for the past decade amid EU concerns over Israel’s disregard for international law and its unlawful settlement policy, which continues unabated. By paying lip service to human rights while prioritising political relations and energy supplies, the EU risks further entrenching impunity for crimes under international law and Israel’s cruel system of oppression and domination against Palestinians, weakening its credibility to hold other rights-abusing governments across the globe to account. EU leaders must recognize that the reality in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is one of apartheid and take concrete steps to address it.”
Ahead of the EU-Israel Association Council, Amnesty International has outlined its key human rights concerns and recommendations to EU leaders in a letter sent to the EU High Representative and the foreign ministers of EU member states.
In recent days, worrying signals have emerged that EU representatives are going to water down language on key human rights concerns in their Association Council statement.