Suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement!

Eurochild and other civil society organisations call on the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement in light of the violation of human rights by the State of Israel.

The EU is Israel’s biggest trade partner, accounting for 28.8% of its trade in goods in 2022. The EU considers respect for human rights to constitute an essential element of EU association agreements with partner countries. The violation of the so-called “essential elements” clauses enables the EU to terminate or suspend fully or partially the agreements, in accordance with Article 60 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Article 82 of the Association Agreement provides that “Each of the Parties may denounce the Agreement by notifying the other Party.”

Suspension of the Association Agreement over the violation of the Agreement’s human rights clauses would send a strong message that the EU’s commitment to human rights is more than just rhetoric.

Human rights abuses by the Israel government did not start in 2023, however. The United Nations Human Rights Council has concluded that prior to this period grave human rights abuses have been committed. The establishment and expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank is among these human rights violations, leading to, among others, the expropriation of private land owned by Palestinians, racial segregation due to the forced eviction of Palestinians and the demolition of their property, a climate of impunity for perpetrators of settler violence and the involvement of Israeli security forces in such violence, and restrictions of freedom of movement for Palestinians. The European Council expressed its concerns over the blockade of the Gaza strip (prior to October 2023) and called on military operations to be proportionate, in line with international humanitarian law and for Israel to ease restrictions in the Gaza strip. 

The provisions of the EU-Israel Association Agreement states that the parties establish the association “considering the importance which the Parties attach…[ ] to the principles of the United Nations Charter, particularly the observance of human rights and democracy, which form the very basis of the Association;”... and Article 2 states that “relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.”

What is currently happening in Gaza is the consequence of a political and moral failure of the international community.

Read the full joint letter

Photo by Rob Pierson; Egypt/Gaza Border Wall

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