We are a group of Israeli citizens who are deeply concerned about our government’s policies of apartheid and occupation, and the European Union’s complicity in these policies. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Poland for assuming the EU Presidency in July 2011. It has been brought to our attention that the first joint Polish-Israeli cabinet session is due in Jerusalem on the 24th of February. We are therefore writing to you to ask that you resume your responsibility to uphold basic principles of international law and human rights in Israel/Palestine.
Israel’s violations of human rights, in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as inside Israel, include violations of: the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1976); The Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) Art 49 regarding transfer of an occupying powers’ civilian population into the territory it occupies; The Right to Life, article 6 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966; Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), Art 33, Prohibiting collective punishment of a civilian population; and Articles 53 and 147 on deliberate and wanton destruction of personal and state property not justified by military necessity.
Fundamental principles of international law as well as numerous European Union laws have been violated by Israel’s policy of founding illegal colonies on Palestinian territories as well as imposing blockade on Gaza, not to mention Israel’s numerous military operations which have targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure and property, Israel’s policy of extra-judicial execution and Israel’s continued building of the illegal separation barrier (wall) inside occupied Palestinian territory.
In view of the aforementioned violations of international law and human rights, we expect Poland, as a prominent member of the EU, to:
- Clarify, in the most unequivocal manner, that from now on, Poland will not be complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.
o In particular, we expect Poland to cancel arms trade between Rafael and Poland’s Bumar for Spike Missile production, given that these weapons are used by the Israeli military against civilians
- Promote an EU arms embargo on Israel, in accordance with the tenets of international law.
- Send independent observers to monitor Israel’s human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
- Monitor and protest against a wave of racist legislation proposals that have been adopted by the Knesset, or are about be voted on by it.
- Cancel contracts and operations in Poland by Israeli companies that are clearly violating International Law through their illegal operations in servicing and building illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. Contracts should not be signed nor implemented until these companies cease their material and financial support for the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. Some of these companies are:
- Egged Mobilis - currently running parts of the Polish city bus routes; responsible for co-constructing the Jerusalem Light Railway System; and operating bus routes between illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank;
- Eden Springs Ltd - the second largest distributor of bottled water in Poland – The parent company of Eden Springs Ltd is Mayanot Eden which has, amongst its sources the Salukia spring as well as a bottling plant in Katzrin, both in the occupied Golan Heights;
- ASBUD – founded and majority owned by Israeli corporations Asthrom, Shikun and Binui Group (Housing and Construction Holding) (HCH) and S.T.R. Development & Construction Group. ASBUD is a real estate development company listed in Poland, building housing complexes in the neighborhoods of Konstancin, Tarchomin and Piaseczno amongst others.
§ Asthrom supplies construction materials for Israeli military checkpoints (“terminals”) in the occupied West Bank, and is building housing units in the illegal settlement of Nof-Zion in Jerusalem. It is a majority stakeholder in the construction of the Light Rail Project in Jerusalem, which will supply transportation services to settlement towns and neighborhoods around Jerusalem.
§ Shikun and Binui is expanding the illegal settlement of Ramot in occupied East Jerusalem, whilst its subsidiary company and contracting arm for HCH Solel Boneh is listed by the Israeli Ministry of Defense as a supplier of construction elements for the construction of Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank.
Some of us were born in Poland. Others are the descendants of immigrants from Poland. To the best of our knowledge, Poland’s present policy towards Israel has been shaped, to a great extent, by the history of Jews in Poland. If there is any lesson to be learnt from this chapter in history, it should be a universal lesson. When Israel is subjecting millions of human beings to indiscriminate violence and humiliation we say: Not in our name! And when Israel is committing these acts, we expect your protesting voice to be heard as well.
Please do not shun responsibilities!
Prof. Rachel Giora
Adv. Emily Schaeffer
On behalf of
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within