19 July 2013
We welcome the announcement made by the European Union earlier this week that future agreements between the EU and Israel must exclude settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, which are illegal under international law.
We believe that this is a positive step towards ensuring that international law is upheld.
Violations of international law
Christian Aid, along with many other civil society organisations, has long advocated for the EU to ensure that it does not participate in Israeli violations of international law in the construction and maintenance of illegal settlements.
By introducing these new guidelines, the EU is sending a very clear signal that it considers the settlements unlawful and an obstacle to peace.
At the same time, it is ensuring that funds from EU citizens are not being used to maintain this illegal situation. This is a step in the right direction towards greater accountability, the bedrock of any viable peace.
We hope that this heralds a new era where the EU backs up its statements with concrete action.
Ban on settlement products
A next urgent step is a ban on settlement products. Christian Aid believes that trade with settlements perpetuates them by making them economically profitable.
For more information on the EU’s position regarding Israeli settlements, read Trading away peace (PDF); a report by a coalition of organisations including Christian Aid, which shows that despite positive sentiment by the EU, European policy in practice simultaneously helps sustain the settlements.
It is a scandal that while Palestinian farmers are struggling to survive on land that has been in their families for generations, there are products sold in our markets that come from the very settlements that impoverish them.
Take action - write to your MP
If, like us, you believe that this is a huge injustice, and a great obstacle to peace in the region, then please write to your MP and ask them to support a ban on settlement produce in the UK.
Several governments, including the Republic of Ireland, have already committed to doing this.
Download your MP letter (PDF)
Find out more
Christian Aid's work in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory