SNP MEP Calls For Suspension of EU-Israel Agreements

02 April 2009
SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith has today reiterated his call for the EU-Israel Association agreement to be suspended in order to pressure the Israeli government to abide by the international commitments made towards the welfare of the Palestinian people.

The call came after Smith met in Brussels with Scots involved in the "Peace Cycle" initiative, which has seen young volunteers cycle from Amman to Jerusalem and yesterday delivered a 15,000 petition to the European Parliament calling for the suspension of the Association Agreement. Smith's call comes also in the light of comments made by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Israel need not be bound by the Annapolis accords.

Smith said:

"Things are going from bad to worse in the Middle East, and the EU as a whole continues to send precisely the wrong signals to the increasingly intransigent Israeli government. At least Mr Lieberman does not pretend to have any regard for human rights, where a number of his predecessors have pretended to talk about peace while all the while undermining any chance of a viable Palestinian state at all.

"The EU has to recognise that the Israeli government is not a partner in peace, it is the primary opponent of it. Until we use our collective economic and political power to bring them to the negotiating table we will only continue to watch things go from bad to worse.

"When I visited Gaza, the West Bank and Israel I saw for myself the daily humiliations inflicted upon the Palestinian people, making the economy of Palestine a basket case, brutalising the population and in itself encouraging violence, which is then used to justify further aggression. I favour a two state solution but there has to be two viable states in the first place and the Israeli government is being permitted to undermine at every turn any chance the Palestinians have of establishing any viable economy.

"I commend the efforts of the Peace Cycle campaign, and certainly support their call for the EU to get real in our collective dealings with Israel.

"The phrase I heard from an Israeli peace activist in Haifa still rings in my ears; that "Israel must be saved from itself" is becoming more and more true with every day that passes. The EU must match the hand wringing and humanitarian aid with hard action to bring the Israeli government to account, and the only weapons we have at our disposal are economic ones."