Europeans plans to turn Israel into a “privileged partner” enjoying special political, diplomatic and trade links were suspended yesterday January 14th 2009 as the agreement faced resistance due to the military operation in Gaza.
"Senior people are saying there should be a pause in close ties between Israel and the union," said a European diplomat.
Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, the EU commission's ambassador to Israel, told reporters in Jerusalem that the war in Gaza meant bilateral relations between Israel and the 27-nation bloc "cannot proceed business as usual".
He said: "In a war situation, everybody realises that it is not the appropriate time to upgrade bilateral relations."
While the practical impact of the suspension may be minimal, officials said, the political and symbolic signals are strong, controversial and unusual.*
Humanitarian, human rights and development agencies, including Muslim Aid, who called on the European Union to immediately suspend any further enhancement of its relations with Israel until it agrees to a comprehensive ceasefire and provides unimpeded humanitarian access, will welcome the decision.
* Taken from an article by Ian Traynor, The Guardian 14 January 2009 ‘Europe stalls on closer Israel links in Gaza protest’. For the full article, click here
See press release ‘Aid agencies call for suspension of enhanced EU-Israel agreements’ January 7th 2008.