Trading away peace10 October, 2012
The report "Trading away peace" found that the EU imports 15 times more from the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory than from the Palestinians themselves. Diakonia, along with a large group of human rights organizations, demand that the EU must stop its financial support to illegal Israeli settlements.
Substantial differences in EU imports
"Trading away peace" is the first report to compile statistics on the difference between exports from Israeli settlements to the EU and exports from the Palestinian economy.
Israel estimates that the EU imports products from the settlements to a value of around 230 million euros per year. In comparison, the estimated EU import for Palestinian products is 15 million euros per year.
Israel subsidizes the settlements through infrastructure, tax breaks and lack of environmental legislation. Also, the Palestinian business community’s access to the world market is severely hampered by the occupation and movement restrictions on Palestinians.
As a consequence of this, the Palestinian export has in recent years fallen from more than half of the Palestinian GDP to less than 15 percent.
Mixed messages from the EU
The report "Trading away peace" shows that the EU gives mixed messages on the issue of settlements:
- On the one hand, the member states of the EU condemns the settlements
- On the other hand, financial support is given in many cases in the form of tariff reductions as the system supposed to distinguish Israeli products from settlements products has major flaws.
As a result, the EU has become the primary market for goods produced in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. Despite the EU's directive, most member states have failed to notice the products in trade, making it impossible for consumers to know whether products labeled "Made in Israel" are settlement products or not.
The EU must stop contributing to the growth of illegal settlements
Diakonia, along with a wide spectrum of other organizations, calls for concrete measures from the EU and its member states to stop the contribution to the growth of settlements.
First, governments need to develop guidelines for the origin to ensure that Swedish and European consumers know if they are buying settlement products or not.