Thursday, April 7, 2011

Czech Government: Please Don’t Support Apartheid, Racism and Occupation

We are a group of Israeli citizens who are deeply concerned about our government's policies of racism, apartheid and occupation, and the European Union's complicity in these policies. It has been brought to our attention that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to visit your country this month
in order to "deepen crucial strategic cooperation",as reported by your local media. Cooperation of this type means increased complicity of the Czech Republic in Israeli crimes. We are therefore writing to you to ask that you resume your responsibility to uphold basic principles of international law and human rights in Israel/Palestine.

Israel's violations of human rights, in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as inside Israel, include violations of: the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1976); The Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) Art 49 regarding transfer of an occupying powers’ civilian population into the territory it occupies; The Right to Life, article 6 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966; Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), Art 33, Prohibiting collective punishment of a civilian population; and Articles 53 and 147 on deliberate and wanton destruction of personal and state property not justified by military necessity.

Fundamental principles of international law, as well as numerous European Union laws, have been violated by Israel’s policy of founding illegal colonies on Palestinian territories as well as imposing blockade on Gaza, not to mention Israel’s numerous military operations which have targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure and property, Israel’s policy of extra-judicial execution and Israel’s continued building of the illegal separation barrier (wall) inside occupied Palestinian territory.

In view of the aforementioned violations of international law and human rights, we expect the Czech Republic, as a prominent member of the EU, to:

-  Clarify, in the most unequivocal manner, that from now on, it will not be complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights. In particular, we expect the Czech Republic to support an investigation based on the findings of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.

-  Abstain from supporting Israeli policies towards the Palestinians at the United Nations (GA).

-  Promote an EU arms embargo on Israel, in accordance with the tenets of international law, and abstain from purchasing Israeli weaponry.

-  Uphold the standards of human rights which every member of the EU is obliged to follow, and promote the revocation of the EU-Israel association agreement, due to Israel's severe violations of human rights.

-  Monitor all of Israel's failures to meet the elementary criteria for membership in the OECD, and demand that Israel end all discriminatory policies that violate OECD guidelines.

-  Send independent observers to monitor Israel’s human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

-  Monitor and protest against a wave of racist legislation proposals that have been adopted by the Knesset, or are about be voted on by it, and promote sanctions against Israel if these laws are not repealed.

-  Cancel contracts and operations in the Czech Republic by Israeli and international companies that are clearly violating International Law through their illegal operations in servicing and building illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. Contracts should not be signed nor implemented until these companies cease their material and financial support for the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. Some of these companies are:

-  Veolia - currently running Czech infrastructure projects; responsible for co-constructing the Jerusalem Light Railway System; operating bus routes between illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank;
-  IDB Group - complicit in Israeli Construction on Occupied Land, The Wall and Checkpoints;
-  Industrial Buildings Corporation (IBC) - also complicit in Israeli Construction on Occupied Land, Services to the Settlements;

(Additional information can be obtained through this database)

The Czech Republic's policy towards Israel has been shaped, to a great extent, by the history of Jews in Europe. If there is any lesson to be learnt from this chapter in history, it should be a universal lesson. When Israel is subjecting millions of human beings to indiscriminate violence and humiliation we say: Not in our name! And when Israel is committing these acts, we expect your protesting voice to be heard as well.

Please do not shun your responsibilities!

Oshra Bar
Ofra Ben Artzi
Naama Farjoun
Prof. Rachel Giora
Connie Hackbarth
Shir Hever
Liad Kantorowicz
Assaf Kintzer
Edo Medicks

Dr. Dorothy Naor
Ofer Neiman
Dr. David Nir
Renen Raz
Dr. Kobi Snitz
Tali Shapiro
Jonatan Stanczak

On behalf of
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within

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