Hope dies last

Andrew Stroehlein

Will It Be “Busi-ness as Usual” with Israel?
On Monday, top European officials will be shaking hands with representatives of a government committing crimes against humanity.
Will they at least call out these crimes?
The EU-Israel Associati-on Council meeting on Oc-tober 3 should not be a day to pretend it’s “business as usual” with Israel. The country’s government has an appalling rights record and has only been escalating its repression of late.
For some time now, the Israeli authorities have been committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution against the Palestinian people. There is growing consensus around that determination by Palestinian, Israeli, and international human rights groups, and more and more states, high-level officials and UN experts have come to the same conclusions.
Monday’s meeting of the Association Council, a forum aimed at facilitating political dialogue and strengthening cooperation, also comes just weeks after Israeli authorities raided and ordered the closing of the offices of seven prominent Palestinian civil society organizations, some of which receive funding from the EU and its member states.
In August, 49 Palestinians in the open-air prison of Gaza, including 17 children, were killed during another round of hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups.
In the occupied West Bank, Israeli authorities have killed more than 80 Palestinians in 2022, a six-year-high. Those killed include the journalist Shireen Abu Aqla.
Despite these recent developments, the EU apparently did not demand any action by the Israeli authorities to end abuses ahead of the Association Council.
As my colleague here in Brussels, Claudio Francavilla, says: “The decades-long European failure to take action in the face of grave human rights abuses has emboldened Israeli authorities to brazenly escalate their repression of Palestinians.”
Will Monday be any different? Will EU officials use the Association Council to finally condemn Israel’s apartheid and persecution, and make clear there will be meaningful consequences if the Israeli government does not reverse course?
Hope dies last.