To mark the World Day of Social Justice on February 20, a coalition of more than 100 civil society organizations has launched a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to stop trade with illegal settlements in the occupied territories.
An ECI is an official instrument for democratic participation of citizens in EU policy making. If an ECI garners one million signatures from EU citizens over 12 months the European Commission must consider and debate the petition’s demands. This ECI demands EU legislation to outlaw trade with illegal settlements, anywhere and at all times, including trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. The coalition calls on every EU citizen concerned about human rights, social justice and fair trade to sign the petition.
Even though illegal settlements constitute a war crime under international law, the EU currently allows trade with them. In the case of Israel’s settlements, the UN Security Council has called on states to render them no assistance. The European Union has repeatedly declared that they constitute a flagrant violation of international law. Nevertheless, the EU continues to trade with them, which has emboldened their ongoing expansion.
Tom Moerenhout, a legal scholar and one of the initiators of the ECI:
“The EU has been shamefully inconsistent in its respect of the rule of law. Indeed, the European Commission first rejected registration of our Citizens Initiative, but had to change its position after we successfully sued the Commission before the European Court of Justice. The Commission has since acknowledged it can implement a general rule to stop illegal settlement trade that is considered a general measure in respect of international and EU law rather than a sanction.”
This European Citizens Initiative is carried out by the #StopSettlements coalition. It includes prominent civil society organizations in the field of human rights, environmental and social justice, trade unions and politicians who unite against profits from annexation and occupation to protect human rights, fair trade, and international peace.
Members of the coalition
The #StopSettlements coalition is a wide alliance of NGOs, grassroots movements, trade unions and politicians who unite against profits from annexation and occupation to protect human rights, fair trade, and international peace and stability.
Besides current atrocities such as Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine, the coalition monitors the trend of territorial aggression in international relations. It wants the EU to send a clear signal that the hard lessons we learnt through history will be remembered and protected, and that profiteering from annexation and occupation will no longer be possible.
These are the coalition partners that support the initiative and request the Commission to regulate commercial transactions with Occupant’s entities based or operating in occupied territories by withholding products originating from there from entering the EU market.
- Addameer, Al-Haq, Avaaz, European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), European Legal Support Center, European Trade Union Network for Justice In Palestine, Gastivists, Human Rights Watch, Rābet, SumOfUs
- Association Belgo-Palestinienne (ABP), Broederlijk Delen, CNCD 11.11.11, Coordination Nationale d’Action pour la Paix et la Démocratie (CNAPD), Le Monde Selon les Femmes, Ligue des Droits Humains, Solidagro, Vredesactie, 11.11.11 vecht mee tegen onrecht
- Association France Palestine Solidarité , ATMF, CEDETIM, Chrétiens de la Méditerranée, Confédération paysanne, Ensemble!, Groupe d’amitié Islamo-Chrétienne, La CGT, La Cimade, Les Jeunes écologistes, Ligue des droits de l’Homme, Mouvement international de la Réconciliation – Branche française (M.R.), Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-violente, Mrap, Plateforme des ONG Françaises pour la Palestine, Une Autre Voix Juive, Union Juive Française pour la Paix, Union syndicale Solidaires
- Arabikansojen ystävyysseura (AKYS), ICAHD Finland, Psykologien Sosiaalinen Vastuu Ry, Rauhanliitto, Sadankomitea – Committee of 100 in Finland, Suomen Rauhanpuolustajat, Svensk Ungdom / RKP -nuoret, Vihreät nuoret
- AK Nahost Berlin, Deutsch-Palästinensische Gesellschaft, Freunde von Sabeel Deutschland, Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost, Kairos Palestine Solidaritätsnetz Deutschland, Palästinakomitee Stuttgart, Palästina Spricht, pax christi Diözesanverband Rottenburg-Stuttgart, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) Deutschland
- Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient (CPJPO)
- Academics For Palestine (AFP), ActionAid Ireland, Centre for Global Education, Christian Aid Ireland, Comhlámh, Financial Justice – Ireland, Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign-IPSC, Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council (IMPIC), Justice For Palestine, Kaíros Íreland, National Union of Students – Union of Students in Ireland (NUS-USI), PalFest Ireland – Art/ festival Supporting Palestine, SADAKA (The Ireland Palestine Alliance), TCD Apartheid Free, Trade Union Friends of Palestine, Trócaire, Unite, Uplift – People Powered Change
- Amici della Mezza Luna Rossa Palestinese (AMLRP), Arci, Artisti Resistenti, Associazione Amicizia Sardegna Palestina, Associazione di solidarietà internazionale, Assopace Palestina, Casa dei Diritti dei Popoli, Centre Nuovo Modello diSviluppo, Centre Studi Sereno Regis, Comitato Fiorentino “fermiamo la Guerra”, Confederazione dei Comitati di Base – COBAS, COSPE – Together For Change, Costituzione Beni Comuni, Cultura e Libertà, Donne en Nero, Fair watch, FIOM-CGIL, Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso – Onlus, Gazzella, Gruppo Empolese Emisfero Sud (G.E.E.S.), Il Chicco di Senape, Libera, Libere Tutte, Link – Coordinamento Universitario (LINK), Medicina Democratica, Memoria in Movimento, New weapons research group, Parallelo Palestina, Resistenza , Rete Ebrei Contro L’Occupazione, Salaam Ragazzi dell’Olivo, Salaam Ragazzi dell’Olivo – Comitato Di Trieste, Un ponte per, Una Città In Comune, WILPF
- Center za družbeno raziskovanje (Cedra), Danes je nov dan, Gibanje za pravice Palestincev, Humanitas, Mirovni inštitut, Proja, Sindikat žerjavistov pomorskih dejavnosti (SŽPD), Slovenska filantropija, 3MUHE Pravična trgovina Fair Trade
- Confederación Intersindical Galega, ELA Sindikatua, LAB
- Betlehems Venner (Denmark), Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (PGS) (Sweden)
For more information about the Initiative, please contact Tom Moerenhout (firstname.lastname@example.org), Aneta Jerska (email@example.com) or consult the #StopSettlements coalition website.