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EU must review trade with Israel in response to Gaza onslaught: Grace O’Sullivan MEP

As the bloodshed in Gaza claims the lives of over 10,000 civilians, some European countries have fuelled the violence, including ratcheting up arms exports to Israel. With mounting evidence of war crimes, the EU should now review the EU-Israel Association Agreement, says Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan. 


Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan, who is the only Irish full member of the European Parliament’s Delegation to Palestine, has called for a complete review of the EU’s trade arrangements with Israel following the continued bombing of civilian hospitals, schools and residential areas in the Gaza strip. 


The MEP noted that weapons exports to Israel have skyrocketed, with the German government recently increasing its arms exports to Israel ten-fold to the tune of €303 million, as reported by German news outlet Deutsche Welle. The amount of aid EU countries have sent to Palestinians suffering from the bombing of Gaza meanwhile has been paltry in comparison, while calls for a complete ceasefire are only now being released by EU capitals. Economic pressure or the threat of sanctions has not yet been put on the table however.


The EU-Israel Association Agreement set up a new level of economic cooperation between Tel Aviv and Brussels when it came into force in 2000. However the agreement includes stipulations for both parties to respect human rights and democratic principles. MEP O’Sullivan said today that the indiscriminate bombing in Gaza and the targeting of hospitals, including recently a paediatric cancer ward run by The Palestine Children's Relief Fund, is proof that Israel has shown a complete disregard for human rights and is grounds for a termination of the Agreement.


MEP O’Sullivan said: “So far the EU’s leadership has essentially given carte blanche to the Israeli far-right government to kill as many Palestinian civilians as it wants in the name of self-defence. If we are serious about our commitment to human rights, then we need to call for an immediate ceasefire now and we need to hold both Hamas and the Israeli government and army responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. As the EU is Israel’s largest trade partner, the best way to do that is through economic pressure.” 


The MEP, who travelled to Palestine with a Parliamentary delegation last year but was banned by Israeli authorities from travelling to Gaza added: “As a first step, the EU must ban all trade with illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. EU leaders like Ursula von der Leyen have criticised these settlements in the past, but have done nothing but reward the Israeli government with shady gas deals and unconditional support for the bombing of Gaza. They ought to follow the lead of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who has called for an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages without delay.” 

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