Europe must not turn a blind eye to the deteriorating human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

In Euro-Mediterranean Partnership by

In the context of the annual meeting of the EU-Israel Foreign Affairs Ministers (Association Council) scheduled to take place on 16 June 2008 in Luxembourg, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) expresses its deep concern over the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

In view of ongoing discussions regarding the upgrading of EU-Israel relations, the EMHRN calls upon the EU and Israel to abide by their human rights commitments as stipulated in their Association Agreement and Action Plan within the European Neighbourhood Policy. We urge that the deepening of relations between the two parties be conditioned on the fulfilment of these human rights commitments.

We further call upon both parties to establish an open and transparent mechanism for the systematic monitoring of the human rights situation in Israel and the OPT through a subcommittee on human rights, to be established within the framework of the Association Agreement. The agenda and the protocol of these meetings must be accessible, public documents.

The EMHRN urges the EU to raise the following human rights concerns during the upcoming Association Council meeting as essential issues:

1. Humanitarian crisis and siege on Gaza

2. Movement restrictions in the OPT

3. Institutional discrimination against the Arab minority in Israel

4. Torture and ill treatment of Palestinian security detainees

5. Administrative detention

Specifically, the EMHRN calls on the EU to bring diplomatic pressure to bear on Israel:

• To bring to an end to the serious violations of international humanitarian law taking place in Gaza and to demand the immediate cessation of Israel’s unlawful measures of collective punishment against civilians in the form of cuts in electricity and fuel supplies as well as basic humanitarian assistance and supplies.

• To put an end to restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the OPT, in accordance with its obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

• To take action to ensure that state-controlled land is allocated to Palestinian and Jewish citizens of the state in accordance with the principles of equality and non discrimination, and to observe the principle of non-discrimination with regard to all citizens of the state.

• To cease its policy of land dispossession, home demolition and displacement of Palestinian Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the unrecognized villages in the Naqab (Negev), to recognize these villages and prepare plans for their development, and to ensure that there are reasonable sources of livelihood for their inhabitants.

• To ensure that the practices amounting to the torture and ill-treatment of detainees by Israel Security Authority interrogators is immediately ceased and to put an end to the prevailing culture of impunity for the perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment.

• To provide detailed information on administrative detainees being held in prisons and detention centers, to bring an end to arbitrary detentions, to respect the right to a fair trial, and to provide guarantees that conditions of detention comply with international human rights standards.

12 June 2008

Read the full note on human rights situation in Israel and the OPT at: http://euromedrights.net/pages/511/news/focus/56913