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Ó Snodaigh seeks all-party support on EU-Israel trade motion

28 July, 2006

Sinn Féin’s International Affairs spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on members of the Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs to come together behind a motion calling for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which provides Israel with favourable conditions when trading with EU member states including Ireland. He has written to the Committee Chair, John Deasy TD, asking for the Committee to be convened as soon as possible to discuss the ongoing Israeli attacks in Lebanon and Gaza.


The Dublin South-Central TD said: “The devastation caused by Israel’s brutal assault on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip is a crime of such immensity as to dwarf party politics. I am asking every TD and Senator on the European Affairs Committee to back this motion.


“The Israeli regime, as indicated by the statement of its Justice Minister Haim Ramon, believes the failure of the Romeconference to call for an immediate ceasefire gives it the green light to continue. A senior Israeli military officer, Major General Udi Adam has said that he expects the onslaught to ‘continue for several weeks’.




“There is a responsibility on us to show Israe lthat its actions in the Middle East, the slaughter of innocent civilians in Gaza and southern Lebanon and the killing of UN observers is, utterly unacceptable.


“By coming together to form a cross-party consensus, we can push for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement all the more effectively. Parliamentarians throughout the EU have called for the use of Article 2 of the Association Agreement as a mechanism to bring about the end of these violations of human rights and international law by Israel.


“We have the opportunity to show leadership, to provide an example to others across this continent in demonstrating that we will not allow the repeated and deliberate human rights violations of the Israeli regime to go unchallenged.” ENDS





That this committee requests that the Government uses its position within the European Union to:

 - Express its grave concern at the illegal invasion of Lebanon by Israel in recent weeks, the slaughter of innocents, the confiscation of lands, the destruction of towns and property and the indiscriminate aerial bombardment of Beirutand other towns by Israeli armed forces and the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hizbullah on northern Israeli towns and settlements;


- Deplores all human rights violations and other violations of international law perpetrated during the course of this conflict, and calls for their immediate end;




- Considers that the European Union has a moral obligation to use all diplomatic means at its disposal to bring an end to these violations and to promote an immediate withdrawal from Lebanon of Israel’s invading army and calls for a peaceful and negotiated settlement between Palestine and Israel;




- Notes with regret that grave and systematic human rights violations by the Israeli Defence Forces against the Palestinian people and in particular the collective punishment being carried out against the people of the Gaza Strip continue despite the repeated calls on the Government of Israel by the European Union to end these violations;


- Notes that the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement between the European Communities and Israel includes in its Article 2 a provision stating that the agreement is based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, thus providing a mechanism to bring the EU’s influence to bear in cases of non-respect for human rights;




- Notes that parliamentarians throughout the EU have called for the use of Article 2 of the Association Agreement as a mechanism to bring about the end of these violations of human rights and international law by Israel;




- Considers that the value of the inclusion of a human rights clause in the Union’s association agreements with third countries will be brought into disrepute if no action is taken on foot thereof given the lack of progress in addressing Israel’s human rights violations through other mechanisms;


- Therefore requests that the Government ensure that the Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs propose to the General Affairs and External Relations Council the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement under Articles 2 and 79, until such time as there has been a significant and measurable improvement in compliance with international human rights standards.

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