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John Brady TD slams decision to renew EU-Israel Association Council

15 September, 2022 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has voiced deep concern and anger over the decision by EU foreign ministers to renew the EU-Israel Association Council for the first time since 2012.

The decision comes at a time where Palestinian civil society is under attack by Israeli authorities as the state intensifies its campaign to silence Palestinian NGOs and human rights defenders, whose tireless efforts to disclose to international audiences the ongoing human rights abuses by the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people.

The Wicklow TD said:

“I find it incredulous that EU foreign ministers have taken a unanimous decision to renew the EU-Israel Association Council, despite the opposition of EU states in the past to the Association Council as a consequence of their protest at Israeli human rights abuses.

“I have written to the Minister for Foreign Affairs seeking an explanation for this, as his support for the renewal of the Association Council leaves the Irish government open to accusations of complicity in support of the actions of Israel against Palestinians.

“But I would particularly like to address the question of the EU head of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell - what has changed?

“Has Israel given an undertaking to desist in any future aerial bombardment of innocent civilians in Gaza?

“Has Israel undertaken to desist from the murder of Palestinian journalists, as in the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, or its campaign to silence Palestinian society through a campaign of harassment and criminalisation against NGOs and human rights defenders?

“Has Israel given an undertaking to abandon its campaign of illegal land seizures and forced evictions across the West Bank, or to suspend what the UN considers effective apartheid?

“While Josep Borrell attempts to frame this development in terms an opportunity for the EU to engage with Israel over the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, the reality is that the EU is prepared to sacrifice its concerns for human rights in order to pursue future energy supplies from Israel.

“It is no secret that the primary focus of Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Israel in June was on energy supplies. While Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described the EU-Israeli relationship as a strategic asset to Israel, its energy Minister claimed that Von der Leyen has emphasised the EU’s need to source gas from Israel.

“The question remains, what price do human rights have in the EU, if its key ministers are prepared to abandon the Palestinian people for gas?” 

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