Human Rights Watch calls on Europe to ban trade with Israeli settlements

Human Rights Watch calls on Europe to ban trade with Israeli settlements
Activists have launched an online petition calling on the EU to boycott Israeli settlements, and are trying to collect one million signatures.
2 min read
21 February, 2022
An initiative by activists in Europe has called on the EU to ban the import and sale of products from unlawful Israeli settlements [HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty]

Activists have called on Europe to ban trade with illegal Israeli settlements, the US-based NGO Human Rights Watch has said in a statement on Monday.

"Settlements unlawfully rob local populations of their land, resources, and livelihoods," Bruno Stagno, chief advocacy officer at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement.

"No country should be enabling the trade in goods produced as a result of land theft, displacement, and discrimination."

HRW's statement follows the rights watchdog's decision to sign onto a citizen-led initiative collecting signatures to petition the European Union to change its policy towards Israel.

The citizen-led initiative - a lobbying tool that allows citizens to petition European institutions - was registered at the European Commission in September 2021 and was accepted on 20 February 2022, meaning it can now start collecting signatures. 

It has already received backing from over 100 civil society organisations, grassroots movements, trade unions and politicians.

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The text needs at least one million signatures, based in at least seven different European countries, in order to progress to the next stage - in which organisers would be invited to meet with European representatives.

The petition calls on European states and MPs to adopt laws banning the import of products made in illegal Israeli settlements and outlawing the export of EU products there. 

Earlier this month, UK-based Amnesty International released a damning report entitled 'Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians', documenting Israel's unlawful practices against Palestinians.

It reported that these included killings, confiscation of land and property, forced transfer, restrictions on movement, and denial of nationality and citizenship.