EJJP advocates that the European Union should not sign the ACCA (Acqui for regulatory equivalence in chemicals and pharmaceuticals) with Israel unless Israel agrees to negotiate in good faith to end the occupation and come into compliance with international law. By significantly increasing Israeli integration into the EU, which the ACCA would represent, without that Israeli concession, the EU would again be telling Israel that it can maintain the occupation and simultaneously deepen its relations with the EU.
Sample Meeting Request Letter
Member of the Bureau,
Group of the European People’s Party
2 October 2012
Dear Ms. Sartori,
We are writing to request another meeting with you. We would like to discuss the forthcoming vote on the ACAA Protocol in Plenary. We will be in Brussels from 8th to 11th October. For several reasons, we believe Parliament should not assent to ACAA.
Firstly and fundamentally is the political. We know that some MEPs believe that trade and technical issues, such as the ACAA, should be kept separate from political issues, but we believe that is unrealistic. Elmar Brok, Chair of the AFET Committee wrote to Commissioner de Gucht (supported orally by Vital Moreira, Chair of INTA) seeking ?legally binding assurances? that the scope of the Israeli regulatory authorities would not cover the Occupied Territories, and further that no goods produced in Israeli settlements would be covered by the protocol. In his oral reply, Commissioner de Gucht said clearly that the ACAA could not discriminate based on origin of products as it only concerns technical and safety certification. That means that he could not give those assurances. He also said the technical and political issues cannot realistically be separated. Following his reply, the INTA Committee passed ACAA to Plenary for a vote by the thinnest of majorities.
The political issues are clear. The current Israeli government’s obdurate refusal to commit to negotiate on the basis of the 4th June ’67 borders and its obvious intention to continue expanding settlements – both within and beyond the big settlements near the Green Line ? make it perfectly plain that its true motives are to retain much of the West Bank and its land and water resources, and to keep all or most of Jerusalem. MEPs should also realize that the current government is following the expansionist policies of all Israeli governments since 1967, but more overtly and with much less concern for international opinion.
The continuation of the occupation will lead to ever greater danger of regional conflict. The appearance of tacit complicity by the EU will lead to growing security risks in EU countries, and to the risk of de-stabilising relations with Muslim countries and consequent economic risks. Israel?s own long-term security is also being jeopardised, as is the security of Jews all over the world, who, like it or not, are identified with Israel.
The issues for MEPs are therefore whether they actually want to influence Israel to change course, and likewise whether they want the EU to be seen to be seriously trying to do so. If they do, then they have to apply conditionality to Israel by withholding any further integration into the EU until Israel commits to negotiate in good faith to create a Palestinian state based on the internationally legitimate 4th June 1967 borders (with an agreed land swap for the well understood reasons), to share Jerusalem as the capital of the two states, and to resolve the refugee issue. Conversely, granting more integration will tell Israel that it can continue to have it both ways, i.e. to continue occupying and settling Palestinian land and simultaneously integrate itself into the EU.
Secondly is the question of whether suspension of ACAA will deprive EU consumers of access to Israeli produced medicines at a competitive cost, as some strong supporters of ACAA claim. On the evidence, we believe that is a false claim. For example, the Israeli company, Teva Pharmaceuticals, is the biggest generic producer in the world. It currently has over 14,000 employees across the EU (plus Switzerland and Norway), has offices in 24 EU states, manufactures or researches in eight EU states, and last year sold over 3 billion Euros worth of pharmaceuticals in Europe. In the UK, for example, one out of every six prescriptions is supplied by Teva. Their products are obviously competitively priced and widely available. The cost of separate EU certification, as it is spread over all units of a drug produced, has obviously not been a bar to their entry into the market.
Thirdly is the question of international law. The most basic Israeli violations of international law are of course the long occupation and the settlement project itself. The many other violations are part and parcel of Israeli repression of Palestinian resistance. If the EU continues to integrate Israel, it would inadvertently be supporting the continuation of the vicious cycle of violations of international law and periodic bouts of violence.
Fourthly is the issue of consistency. The Treaty of the European Union refers to the obligation of the Union to ?ensure consistency between the areas of its external action? (Article 21 TEU). The EU has firmly condemned Israel?s policies and practices that violate international law, as expressed in Council Conclusions in 2009 and on 14 May 2012. Further measures of integration, such as ACAA, will create a blatant dichotomy between the EU?s words and its actions. Many people, especially in the Muslim world, will perceive this as hypocritically supporting universal human rights, including the right to independence, while in reality supporting Israeli settler colonialism. Memories of Europe?s own colonial past will be revived.
We hope you will be able to meet us to discuss these issues. We hope to hear from you shortly.
We have included an addendum to this letter describing two recent decisions, one by the Israel government and one by the Israeli High Court of Justice, which demonstrate Israel?s increasing willingness to ignore international opinion.
Dror Feiler, Chair of EJJP and Judar for Israelisk-Palestinsk Fred (Stockholm), Board Member of the EJJP Foundation
Arthur Goodman, Parliamentary and Diplomatic Officer, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (London)
Max Wieselmann, Board Member of the EJJP Foundation, Director of Een Ander Joods Geluid (Amsterdam)
Table of Meetings October 2012
Participants: Arthur Goodman (JFJFP), Max Wieselman (EAJG), Rick Meulensohn (EAJG)
|Monday 8 October||Tuesday 9 October||Wednesday 10 October||Thursday 11 October|
|9 9.00, Robert Boyle, asst. to Bennion, UK, Alde,||9.00, Manja Andersen, Asst. To Morton Lokkegaard, leads for Danish ALDE on ACCA.|
|10||10:15, Elena Peresso, Cabinet of Trade Comm. De Gucht. 00 32 2 29 825 32||10:00. Caterina Dsildsikon, Asst. to Maria Koppa. Gr, S&D rapporteur on Israel/Pal, Deleg to Pal Leg. Council, also in AFET.|
|10:30, Andre Corrado & June O’keeffe, INTA secretariat.|
|11||11.00, Diana Senczyszyn, Asst to Marek Siwiec. Pol, Soc. AFET, Vice. Pres. Deleg. to Israel,||11.00, Mark Gallagher. Dep. Head M E Peace Process, External Action Service |
|11.30, panagiotis stamoulis, asst. Podimata. GR, Soc.|
|12||12:00 Keep clear for lunch||12:00. Ioan Pascu. Rom, Soc. Vice Chair AFET, on SEDE sub com|
|12:30 keep clear for lunch||12:30, Chrysoula Paliadeli. Gr, Soc. on Israel delegation|
|13 13.00, Marian Harkin. Ire, Alde Bureau||Keep clear for lunch|
|13.45 Fransiszka Brantner, Ger, Green Coordinator in AFET.|
|14 14:00. Jeroem Lemaers, asst. to Ria Oomen-Ruitjen. NI, Lead for Dutch CD on ACAA.||14:00. Veronique De Keyser. Bel, Vice Chair Bureau S&D, AFET Rapporteur on ACAA, DROI. Tania Laurjisson, Bjoern Warren, Zoltan Simon.|
|14:30, Marietje Schaake, Neth, ALDE rapporteur for ACAA in INTA, leads on ACAA for Dutch Alde.||14:30 Keep clear for walking to Dutch Perm rep|
|15 15:00 Elena Gozun, asst. to Renata Weber, Rom, Alde.||15:00 F. Keurhorst and … Cohen, Dutch Perm. Rep., Cancelled due to last minute meeting||15:00, Mr. Matilonus & Ms. Jonuse. Assts. to Leonidas Donskis. Lith, Alde Bureau.|
|16 16:00, Anemie Neyts-Utterbroek. Bel, Alde Coordinator in AFET.|
|16:30, Helmut Scholz. Ger, No-Gue. Inta coordinator|
|ra Nervi Policy Advisor to Alexander Lambdsorff. Ger, ALDE Bureau,||18:00, Christina Ojuland. Est, ALDE Bureau.|
|18:30. Ana Maria Gomes. Por, S&D coordinator in AFET.|