European Union sends Israel letter over destruction EU-funded Palestinian facilities
Palestine-European Union, Economics, 1/31/2002
Spanish foreign minister, Josep Pique, whose country is holding the European Union's rotating chairmanship, announced on Wednesday he has signed a letter to Israel foreign minister, Shimon Peres over Israel's destruction of Palestinian civilian facilities.
The document comprises an exhaustive description of all EU-funded facilities destroyed by the Israeli army, after the EU foreign ministers called Israel to stop destroying infrastructure built with the help of the European Union and other fund-donors.
These projects include the Gaza International Airport and the Gaza Sea Port, the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), the Palestinian police headquarters, two schools, a research laboratory and a water treatment and pumping plant.
Although the text of the letter was not revealed, it will likely ask for compensation for 17.29 million Euros worth of damage caused.
Member of the European Parliament, Louisa Morgantini, stressed in a press release this week that Israel must compensate the European Union for damage it caused to EU-funded projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Morgantini stated, "The EU must immediately suspend the Association Agreement with Israel on grounds of violation of Article 2, on respect for human rights." She further welcomed "the swift action taken by the Commission in assessing the damage which Israeli attacks have caused to Palestinian infrastructure funded by the European Union," but affirmed that there is an urgent need for the European Union to take firm stance to stop Sharon and Israeli policy, and that, as a first step, Israel should reimburse the EU for the 17.29 million Euros worth of damage caused.
Morgantini stated that she couldn't understand how destroying civilian infrastructure financed through foreign aid can be deemed part of the war on terrorism, and wishes to know when the European Union will decide to take firmer action vis-?-vis Israel with respect to international law, particularly UN Resolutions 242 and 338 and the Geneva Conventions.
"The repeated violations of international law and the inhumane policy being pursued by the Sharon government are clearly sufficient ground for the immediate suspension of the Association Agreement with Israel, particularly since Article 2 of the agreement states that "relations between the Parties (...) shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles," and Israel has proven that it is not respecting those principles," she insisted emphasized.
She further stated that the aim of such action must focus on putting an end to Sharon's policy, in order to end the military occupation and also to protect the interests of EU taxpayers who have financed infrastructure that has been destroyed by the Israeli occupation army.
She added, "The European Union has a huge responsibility in this matter, particularly since everyone is aware that Israel has not implemented the peace process. It is shameful to keep President Arafat in a state of effective imprisonment. The responsibility must lie principally with the stronger party, particularly when that party is imposing a military occupation on another people and, day after day, is killing both women and men and destroying the environment in which they live."
"Both Palestinians and Israelis need peace, but, in the words of the Israeli women in the Coalition for Peace, 'the military occupation is killing everyone: stop the occupation; stop the reprisals; stop the vendettas'," Morgantini concluded. (MAP)SH
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