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Date of issue: 16 July 2013
For immediate release
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) welcomes news of new EU guidelines excluding illegal Israeli settlements from EU and member state agreements
The EU has taken action to limit financial cooperation with illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.According to press reports, the guidelines set out that cooperation and contracts between the EU, member states and Israel must explicitly exclude Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign welcomed the news. Sarah Colborne, PSC Director, stated:
“Repeated statements from the EU condemning Israel’s settlement building, and restating their illegality, have simply been thrown into the wastepaper bin by Israeli officials.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign has campaigned for years for the European Union to turn their words into policy actions. A year ago last summer, thousands of our members and supporters wrote to their MEPs demanding that EU programmes stop benefiting Israeli businesses which operate illegally in occupied Palestinian territory.
For example, Ahava – an Israeli company which illegally exploits Palestinian resources – has benefited from EU research funding.
In January this year our members and supporters sent thousands more letters to Catherine Ashton and William Hague, pressing them to ban all financial transactions that support the illegal settlements. It appears that the EU has gone some way into meeting those demands.
For too long the European Union has been all talk and no action. We’ve seen countless statements condemning Israeli settlement expansion as illegal, but then continued financial cooperation at both state and EU level which has financially benefited illegal Israeli settlements.

This guidance is a welcome step, but needs to go much further. It is essential that this is guidance is binding, rather than advisory.

Companies should be excluded from receiving EU and member state public funding if they operate in the occupied Palestinian territory – not only if they are based there. It is also contradictory to the guidelines if the EU allows continued interaction with Israeli Government ministries which are illegally sited in occupied East Jerusalem.

We will wait for the full guidance to be published and carefully study the ramifications. But on the face of it this is a very important development – the first time the EU has turned their words of censure against Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian land into tangible action which goes some small way to discourage Israel from continued settlement growth.
However, more action will be needed to halt and begin to reverse Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian land. We are calling for the British government, and the EU, to adopt a clear approach of no more ‘business as usual’ with Israel until it complies with international law and basic principles of human rights.
Companies such as the Cooperative have already taken important steps, and have a clear ethical policy of refusing to use suppliers which source from the illegal settlements. And given that both the EU and the British government repeatedly have accepted that settlements are illegal under international law, they should ban goods grown, made or packed in those settlements.”
notes for the editor 
  1. Haaretz has reported that the new guidelines, expected to be published on Friday, will exclude settlements from various contracts and agreements between the EU, member States and Israel. It will apply to agreements between 2014 and 2020. A new clause will determine areas of Israel’s territory which are valid for cooperation within the EU with state agreements, those areas in Israel’s control before the 1967 war are open for EU and member state agreements. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.535952
  2. PSC ‘action not words’ campaign’ https://palestinecampaign.org/campaign/action-not-words/

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