What Part of Article 2 Don’t You Understand?


There’s an ugly plan afoot in the EU to reward Israel for its abominable and criminal conduct by enhancing the already handsome benefits enjoyed by the neighbourhood bully under the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Most EU citizens have little idea how the EU works or how to hold it to account for blunders like dereliction of duty. That’s no surprise because it is cloaked in incomprehensible complexity and there is no way to hold it accountable. Those in control shamelessly do as they please, it seems.

Take this wretched EU-Israel Association Agreement. Its purpose is to promote (1) peace and security, (2) shared prosperity through, for example, the creation of a free trade zone, and (3) cross-cultural rapprochement. It governs not only EU-Israel relations but Israel’s relations with the EU’s other Mediterranean partners – including the Palestinian National Authority.

Fundamental to the Agreement are undertakings regarding ‘respect for human rights and democratic principles’ set out as a general condition in Article 2, which says:

Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.

This clause allows steps to be taken to enforce the contractual requirement regarding human rights and to dissuade partners from policies and practices that disrespect those rights. The Agreement also requires respect for self-determination of peoples and fundamental freedoms for all.

It sounds fine, but the EU-Israel Association Agreement actually achieves none of this. In 2002 the EU Parliament voted to suspend the Agreement on the grounds of Israel’s violations of human rights. The resolution called for an arms embargo against Israel and Palestine, and condemned the “military escalation pursued by the Sharon government” and the “oppression of the Palestinian civilian population by the Israeli army.” The EU Commission ignored the will of Parliament, and consequently there has been no improvement in Israel’s behaviour.

Britain’s foreign secretary David Miliband last week dismissed a proposal by the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement, saying: “I think that’s a bit naïve since the agreement, the upgrade, was for the Palestinians as well as for the Israelis.”

I have written to ask Mr Miliband to explain how Palestinians would benefit. They certainly did not do so under the existing arrangement.

The EU, in its treaties, declares a firm commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and international law. On 30 December a statement was issued about the Gaza carnage, saying:

The European Union, conscious of the suffering and anguish of all civilian populations, puts forward the following proposals to resolve the crisis:

  • Immediate and permanent ceasefire: there must be an unconditional halt to rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel and an end to Israeli military action.
  • The cessation of fighting should allow lasting and normal opening of all border crossings, as provided for in the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. The European Union is ready.
  • Re-dispatch the EUBAM (Border Assistance Mission) to Rafah to enable its re-opening, in cooperation with Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. It is also willing to examine the possibility of extending its assistance to other crossing points, provided that the issues relating to security have found a satisfactory response.

The nub of the problem – the continuing illegal occupation – isn’t even mentioned. Nor does the statement actually address core provisions of the Charter, which says that all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.

Furthermore the International Court of Justice ruling on the Illegality of the Separation Wall warned all states of their obligation not to recognise, aid or assist the illegal situation resulting from Israel’s actions in occupied Palestinian territory and reminded all parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention that they are bound to ensure Israel’s compliance with this Convention. These obligations apply not only to EU member states that are signatories to the Geneva Conventions, but also to EU institutions charged with ensuring that EU-Israel contractual relations conform to Community and international law.

Honourable men would have enforced Article 2, observed all other codes and not let matters slide. They would have put the squeeze on Israel until the regime complied 100 percent with requirements. Israel relies heavily on exports to Europe so the EU could, at a stroke, end the evil occupation, murder and land theft, and resolve the problem in the Holy Land.

What game are you playing, Gentlemen? And what part of Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement don’t you understand?

Stuart Littllewood

Stuart Littlewood, after working on jet fighters in the RAF, became an industrial marketeer in oil, electronics and manufacturing, and with innovation and product development consultancies. He also served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and a member of the Police Authority. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and has produced two photo-documentary books including Radio Free Palestine (with foreword by Jeff Halper). Now retired, he campaigns on various issues, especially the Palestinians' struggle for freedom. Read other articles by Stuart, or visit Stuart's website.

6 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Michael Kenny said on January 5th, 2009 at 8:03am #

    1. The “game” the gentlemen (and the ladies whom Mr Littlewood ignores) are playing is called “international politics”! Calling for the suspension of the agreement, as the European Parliament has done, is in fact far more effective than actually suspending it. It makes the moral point but deprives the Isrealis of the “victim” crutch they are so fond of. In addition, many Europeans earn their living from Israeli imports and it is not the role of our leaders to put Europeans out of a job, particularly in the present economic climate.
    2. Since the Israeli “master plan” seems to be to drag Europe into this, the more Europe is perceived as favouring Israel, the better. That way, it will be unacceptable to the Palestinians and the wider Arab world as a negotiator, peace keeper or honest broker.
    3. The ideological basis of Mr Littlewood’s argument is the same as the neocon argument for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, threatening Iran and seeking to undermine democracy in Russia, namely, the right to dictate to others how they should run their countries. Dubya’s version has proved to be a disaster. Why should Mr Littlewood’s version be any less so?

  2. mebosa ritchie said on January 5th, 2009 at 9:18am #

    sorry,stuart,it may not suit your anti-semitic predujice but the EU which its new czech president has just declared support for israel as it is fighting a “DEFENSIVE WAR AGAINST HAMAS TERRORISM”

  3. mebosa ritchie said on January 5th, 2009 at 9:35am #

    everyone a civilian of course

    IDF troops have taken dozens of Hamas operatives prisoner since the start of the ground offensive phase of Operation Cast Lead, Israel Radio reported on Monday.

    Day Two of IDF ground op in Gaza

    Details regarding how the gunmen were captured and when were not released.

    Also Monday afternoon, the IAF bombed at least 40 smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the strikes.

  4. NOT mebosa ritchie said on January 5th, 2009 at 1:03pm #

    Every morning I awaken to say a prayer to the One Who Cannot Be Named. I give thanks that I am not mebosa ritche, who is able to spout such Zionist nonsense with an apparent straight face. mebosa ritchie, you will persuade no one expect others already of your persuasion. LOL.

  5. bozh said on January 5th, 2009 at 4:01pm #

    it can be noticed that it took 300 years for US plutocrats to seize utter power.
    meanwhile, while the ruling class in US was gaining ever greater powers, european rulers were busy fighting one another, labor, socialism, communism; so, they just had no time to build as strong grip on power.
    but now that they are not fighting one another or communism/socialism the rulers have all the time in the world to built a solid fascist europe.
    will they succeed as amers have? well, maybe not. europeans are not as disinformed as amers.
    so, hopefully they’ll notice the gradual slide to dictatorship by rich people and raise a stink.
    i have a skunk farm; i’ll send them some skunks. americans too should raise lotstof skunks and threaten to activate them in all the major cities; from a distance, of course.
    one can also raise snakes and send them via mail to politicos, clergy, media, ‘stars’, and other elitists/warsellers. thnx

  6. bozh said on January 7th, 2009 at 3:50am #

    i still don’t know what “lol” means. is it lies over lies?
    bears repeating: let free speech freely flow. let mebosa talk. he or she may never change her/his stance but does provoke us into refuting his/her ‘facts’, conclusions.
    plus throw buckets of cold (or warm soapy) water on his/her wishy-washy head. this last sentence isn’t very funni but that’s the best i could come up with.
    cheer up. palestinians are now making, having free and tender sexcare, thousands of babies.
    mebosa doesn’t know that egyptians are not arabs; they only speak arabic. thnx