Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Why Doesn't the European Union Pull the Plug on
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, January 18, 2012
Murder, stonewalling and strangulation
Stuart Littlewood argues that given Israel’s reliance on
exports to Europe and its contempt for the EU-Israel Association Agreement,
which calls for “respect for human rights and democratic principles”, the EU
should impose sanctions on the Jewish apartheid state but won't because of
the power of the Zionist lobby, the obedience of Israel's stooges and the
cowardice of the political élite.
The imprisonment and
collective punishment inflicted on the civilian population in the
overcrowded enclave of Gaza continues without let-up.
those whose children were killed or maimed by Israel’s murderous
blitzkrieg three years ago (Operation Cast Lead), and whose homes were
destroyed, have received no response to the criminal complaints submitted on
their behalf by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Not only that. They
are still subjected to air-strikes, shelling or sniper fire on an almost
daily basis, and live in constant fear.
A total of 1,419
Palestinians were killed during Operation Cast Lead, 82 per cent of whom
were civilians. A further 5,300 were injured. Israeli forces directly
targeted and attacked private homes and civilian institutions, including
hospitals and schools. The
Centre for Human Rights says it has submitted 490 criminal complaints to
the Israeli authorities on behalf of 1,046 victims. “To date, only two
substantive replies have been received. The overwhelming majority of
complaints have been simply ignored.”
How would that sit with you if
the same thing were to happen in the leafy suburbs of London, Paris, Berlin
or New York?
“Israel’s separation policy includes not only a block on
travel for work, for trade, for family reunion, for medical
attention and for worship in Jerusalem, but also targets
higher education by making it virtually impossible for Gaza
students to reach the eight Palestinian universities in the
The strangulation also continues. In theory there are four crossings
through which vital supplies can be brought in from Israel and beyond
(including the occupied West Bank) – Sufa, Nahal Oz, Kerem Abu Salem and
Karni. Only Kerem Abu Salem, a small crossing in the south of Gaza, has been
allowed by Israel to operate on anything like a normal basis, say
Since the closure of Karni last March, the Israelis have made sure that all
goods brought into the Gaza Strip have to go through the Kerem Abu Salem
crossing. The capacity of this crossing, as you might have guessed, is
insufficient for needs and its location means longer distances, longer
journey times, higher fees and higher costs for Gaza's merchants. And of
course those extra charges have to be passed on. Now I read that the Karem
Abu Salem crossing is to be demolished.
As for the movement of Gaza’s
people, the charity Oxfam’s latest Gaza blockade fact sheet (December 2011)
reports there are
only two crossings, one between Gaza and Israel, and one between Gaza and
Egypt. Israeli security clearance is still required to use either crossing.
The Erez crossing (to Israel) remains open but most traffic has been
moved to the Rafah crossing (to Egypt), reducing natural movement between
Gaza and the West Bank. The overall ban on exit and entry is still in place.
For UN local humanitarian staff Israel is approving fewer permits than
before the promised “easing”, while permit policy for aid workers and
medical patients remains arbitrary, unpredictable and time consuming.
The report also says the near-total ban on exports continues, with 2011
exports running at less than 1 per cent of pre-blockade levels. It says:
For a long time Israel's intention has been to impose a final separation
between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, even though the two are
internationally recognized as one integral territory. Under international
law everyone has the right to freely choose their place of residence within
a single territory.
In 2011 to date, only 196
trucks of exports have left Gaza. This is only 14 more trucks than in
2010 and far below the 25,480 truckloads of goods needed annually to
meet pre-blockade export levels. It is also significantly less than the
400 trucks of exports promised each day under the 2005 Agreement on
Movement and Access. Four truckloads of strawberries recently left Gaza
between 27 and 29 November 2011. Before that, there have been no exports
since May 2011 when 1 truckload of flowers was allowed to be exported to
Israel’s separation policy includes not only a
block on travel for work, for trade, for family reunion, for medical
attention and for worship in Jerusalem, but also
targets higher education by making it virtually impossible for Gaza
students to reach the eight Palestinian universities in the West Bank. I’m
reminded of Berlanty, a Christian girl from Gaza who was living in the West
Bank and studying for her degree at Bethlehem University. She was about to
sit her finals when she was detained at the Israeli checkpoint between
Bethlehem and Ramallah after attending a job interview.
self-styled “most moral army in the world” blindfolded and handcuffed
Berlanty, loaded her into a military jeep and drove her from Bethlehem to
Gaza, where she was dumped in the darkness late at night and told: “You are
The West Bank remains cruelly occupied with dead-of-night
raids and arrests, even of children. The Israel government continues to
instal armed squatter-thugs in hundreds of illegal “settlements”, from where
they swoop down to terrorize local Palestinian communities and destroy their
crops and other property.
Israel as usual acts in defiance of all law
and standards of decency. And as usual the international community does
nothing except wring their hands and turn their backs in a funk.
It’s simple to understand: play dirty and you get sent off
Western governments weren't
so corrupt the answer would be obvious. Suspend Israel from the 1995
European Union-Israel Association Agreement. The purpose of the Agreement is
to promote (1) peace and security, (2) shared prosperity through, for
example, economic cooperation, free trade and free movement of capital, 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.
“… the EU could, at a stroke, end the evil occupation,
the murder and the land theft, and perhaps resolve the whole
problem in the Holy Land, by pulling the plug – as provided
for under Article 2 of the [EU-Israel Association] Agreement
– instead of continuing to reward Israel for its crimes.”
To enjoy these privileges Israel undertook to show "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.
Even the Israelis must know that the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights adopted by the UN in 1948, Article 13, states: (1) Everyone has the
right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state,
and (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and
to return to his country.
But Israel, with its racist and territorial ambitions, shows the same
contempt for the rules of association as it does for international law.
From the outset it had no intention of playing the game. It relies on the
power of the lobby, the obedience of its stooges and the cowardice of the
political élite to deflect criticism, overcome objections and lean on the
In 2002 the EU Parliament did actually vote 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
fat slugs in the EU Commission ignored the will of the parliament, and
consequently there has been no improvement in Israel’s behaviour.
It’s time to try again, and to stomp on the unelected EU Commission if need
be. Israel relies heavily on exports to Europe where it enjoys “favoured
nation” trading terms. So the EU could, at a stroke, end the evil
occupation, the murder and the land theft, and perhaps resolve the whole
problem in the Holy Land, by pulling the plug – as provided for under
Article 2 of the Agreement – instead of continuing to reward Israel for its