In 2012, the European Union announced that future agreements with Israel must exclude settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).
In 2013, it issued guidelines to exclude settlements’ participation in EU programmes.
These steps were welcomed by several ACT members, who have long advocated for the EU not to participate in Israel’s violations of international law (through Israel’s construction and maintenance of settlements in the oPt).
Israeli settlements take up Palestinian land and water resources and restrict movement: impeding Palestinian access to education, healthcare and employment, as well as restricting the economy – all contributing to poverty.
Shortly before the EU’s decision, a report called Trading Away Peace, signed by a coalition including ACT members, argued that in its trade relations in particular, the EU was undermining its own position on the illegality of settlements.
It revealed that the EU imported about 15 times more from the illegal settlements than from the Palestinians themselves. Advocacy efforts by some ACT members on settlements have focused on EU institutions and governments, and included partnerships with networks of NGOs such as APRODEV.
They continue to advocate for the EU and European governments to move from words to action – asking, among other things, for measures to ensure the correct labelling of settlement products and, further, a ban of imports of settlement products.