PLO’s Ashrawi to EU’s Ashton: Needed Action, Not just Words

RAMALLAH, December 6, 2012 (WAFA) – Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi Thursday urged the European Union to go beyond verbal condemnation of Israeli violations of international law and to start taking action.

In a letter Ashrawi sent to the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the PLO official said Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian land will destroy prospects of a lasting peace in the region.

She said that Israel’s decision to approve the construction of 3000 new settlement units in E1, 1,600 in Ramat Shlomo, 1,000 in Givat Zeev, and 1,000 more in Bait Safafa, is not only “a flagrant violation of international law and signed agreements,” but that “the construction of these settlements, particularly those in E1, bisects the West Bank and destroys the territorial contiguity of Palestine.”

She said that these are “vindictive collective punitive measures, which are a continuation of a preexisting Israeli policy to intensify and escalate settlement activity and land theft.”   She warned that settlement activities are “an expression of Israel’s intention to destroy the two-state solution and the prospect of a lasting peace.”

Ashrawi said that in addition to stealing Palestinian land, the Israeli government has attempted to further punish Palestine by stealing more than $100 million in tax revenues that belong to the Palestinian government.

The Palestinian official said that “permitting this behavior only deepens Israeli impunity, and signals that Israel is not subject to international law.”

It therefore called on the European Union “to go beyond declarations and verbal denunciation, and to adopt concrete measures to ensure accountability in order to prevent Israel from plunging the whole region into instability and violence.”

She said: “Legislating the use of specific labels for Israeli settlement products is a positive step, but we believe that Europe should impose a full ban on importing such products. Most importantly, Israel is in violation of the EU-Israel Association agreement, specifically Articles 2 and 89. We believe that it is time for the EU to reconsider this treaty, and to send a clear message that there is a price to be paid for reneging on signed commitments and violating international agreements.”

Source: WAFA News