May 2, 2023
MacManus welcomes European Parliament stance on illegal settlements trading

MacManus welcomes European Parliament stance on illegal settlements trading

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has hailed the decision by the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee (PETI) to support restricting EU trade with illegal settlements. Speaking at the committee meeting in favour of the petition supporting these restrictions, MacManus said that it reflects the increased awareness amongst MEPs from different political parties towards the plight of the Palestinian people.

MacManus said:

“It is a small step but a significant moral boost for occupied peoples everywhere, in particular for the Palestinians suffering from occupation and apartheid at the hands of the Israeli state.

“It is unacceptable that the European Commission had tried to unsuccessfully prevent the registration of a European Citizens Initiative to stop trade with illegal settlements.

“Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal under international law. They have resulted in a host of human rights violations against the Palestinians amounting to ethnic cleansing, such as the unlawful demolitions of homes, destruction of farmland, forced displacement, unlawful killings and more.

“Despite the European Commission’s claims at the PETI Committee that it supports international law, it still facilitates trade with these illegal settlements. They then had the audacity to justify this by saying that they do not provide preferential trade arrangements and goods must labelled. This is a very low bar.

“I am particularly pleased that Ireland was one of four countries that exceeded their quota of signatures for the original initiative and I commend the efforts of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), political activists and reps from my own party Sinn Féin and others, alongside the trade union movement and wider civic society. .

“I warmly welcome the decision by the PETI committee to support the petition, and await a response to the European Commission to this decision.  ENDS


Note to Editor:

More than 270,000 EU citizens supported the ECI.

The petitioner has asked:

1. Support our request for a written reply from the European Commission.

2. Support our request to send our “ECI turned into a petition” to the INTA Committee for its Opinion, and for the INTA Committee to consider the drafting of an INI Report.

3. Support keeping the “ECI turned into a Petition” open while waiting for the European Commission’s written reply.

PETITIONER: Tom Moerenhout, one of the organisers of the ECI, presented the petition to the PETI meeting on April 26 via video link. Dr. Moerenhout is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

The full petition text is as follows:

“We seek to regulate commercial transactions with Occupant’s entities based or operating in occupied territories by withholding products originating from there from entering the EU market. The Commission, as Guardian of the Treaties, has to ensure consistency of Union’s policy and compliance with fundamental rights and international law in all areas of EU law, including CCP. It must propose legal acts based on the Common Commercial Policy to prevent EU legal entities from both importing products originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories and exporting to such territories, in order to preserve the integrity of the internal market and to not aid or assist the maintenance of such unlawful situations. The initiative thus invites the Commission to submit a proposal for a legal act under the Common Commercial Policy which is general in nature and does not target a specific country or territory.”