Thursday, March 11, 2010

EU Parliament endorses Goldstone Report; Russell Tribunal calls for sanctions of Israel

Two major developments in Europe: The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which met to examine the European Union's complicity in Israeli occupation, has concluded that the EU should sanction Israel for its violations of international law. The Tribunal is non-binding but includes many EU parliamentarians, policy makers, and jurors: Additionally, the European Parliament has voted to endorse the Goldstone Report on war crimes committed by the Israel and Hamas during Israel's 22-day assault on the Gaza Strip last year. Ha'aretz reports:
"The European Parliament on Wednesday urged its 27-member states to monitor the Israeli and Palestinian probes into alleged war crimes committed during last year's late-winter conflict in Gaza. The resolution backed the findings of a UN-appointed expert panel chaired by South African Judge Richard Goldstone, which concluded that both sides committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the war that began in December 2008 and ended in January 2009. The parliamentary move, which would give the EU an unprecedented role in evaluating the progress of Israel's war crimes probe, was sharply criticized by Israel."
These advances come on the heels of a ruling by the EU high court that products produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not covered by trade agreements between the EU and Israel and are thus subject to import duties.