Letter to Catherine Ashton

The Honorable Baroness Catherine Ashton

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Vice President of the European Commission

Dear Baroness Ashton:

On December 16th, Jamal Juma’, was arrested by Israeli Authorities. Mr. Juma’, an internationally known and respected Palestinian human rights defender, is known to many EU officials and diplomatic missions because of his advocacy work and has participated in many European Union and United Nations conferences on Palestine.  Mr. Juma’ – coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign – is subjected to a military court system that does not comply with international standards of fair trial and due process.

Jamal’s arrest comes at the height of the current wave of Israeli repression against human rights defenders and anti-Wall activists.  In September, Mohammad Othman, an organizer with the Stop the Wall Campaign, was arrested and in December, Abdallah Abu Rahma of the Bil’in Popular Committee was likewise detained.  A policy of arrest, intimidation, threats and killings and, at times, collective punishment has been applied to the residents of the villages affected by the Wall.

The European Union has clearly defined regulations demanding the respect of international law and human rights in third countries and the EU to promote this respect. Indeed, Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement states:“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.” The arrest and subsequent treatment of Palestinian human rights defenders further highlights Israel’s complete failure to comply with article 2 of the Association Agreement and the goals of the Action Plan. It shows the discriminatory and arbitrary nature of the Israeli judicial system.

In line with these commitments, I ask you:

  • to raise your concern about the cases of Jamal Juma’, Mohammad Othman and Abdallah Abu Rahma  and other human rights defenders in public statements and in your talks with Israeli officials.
  • not to enter into negotiations on a new action plan with Israel and instead to cancel the EU-Israel Association Agreement until it respects international law and human rights.
  • to stop all negotiations on a cooperation agreement between EUROPOL and Israel in light of a lack of international standards of safeguards within the Israeli judicial system.
  • to ensure the EU effectively complies with its obligations stemming from the ICJ’s decision to dismantle the wall.