EU - Press Release

A New European Citizens Initiative Aims to Push the EU to Ban Trade with Illegal Settlements

Published on Mon Feb 21 2022 - modified on Mon Feb 28 2022

The ELSC joined a coalition of more than 100 organisations asking European citizens to sign the European Citizens Initiative that will push the EU to ban trade with illegal settlements and therefore align its policy with international law. See our press release below.

Brussels, 21 February 2022 – Marking the World Day of Social Justice on February 20 a coalition of more than 100 civil society organizations, has launched a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to stop trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories. 

An ECI is an official instrument for democratic participation of citizens in EU policy making. If an ECI garners one million signatures from EU citizens over 12 months the European Commission must consider and debate the petition’s demands.  This ECI demands EU legislation that will outlaw trade with illegal settlements, anywhere and at all times, including trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. The coalition calls on every EU citizen concerned about human rights, social justice and fair trade to sign the petition.

Even though illegal settlements constitute a war crime under international law, the EU allows trade with them. In the case of Israel’s settlements, the UN Security Council has called on states to render them no assistance, and the European Union has repeatedly declared that they constitute a flagrant violation of international law. Nevertheless, the EU continues to trade with them, which has emboldened their ongoing expansion. 

Tom Moerenhout, a legal scholar and one of the initiators of the ECI: 

The EU has been shamefully inconsistent in its respect of the rule of law.  Indeed, the European Commission first rejected registration of our Citizens Initiative but had to change its position after we successfully sued the Commission before the European Court of Justice. The Commission has since acknowledged it can implement a general rule to stop illegal settlement trade that is considered a general measure in respect of international and EU law rather than a sanction.

This European Citizens Initiative is carried out by the #StopSettlements coalition, which includes prominent civil society organizations in the field of human rights, environmental and social justice, trade unions and politicians who unite against profits from annexation and occupation to protect human rights, fair trade, and international peace. 

SIGN and read the text of the petition

#StopSettlements contacts for media and groups & organizations wishing to join the Initiative:
Tom Moerenhout
Aneta Jerska

Any question about the ECI or the #StopSettlements campaign? See our Q&A.

About the #StopSettlements Coalition : All information in the About Us section of the website. Also see the members here:

European/ International: 

Avaaz, European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine, European Legal Support Center, European Trade Union Network for Justice In Palestine, Human Rights Watch, Rābet

SumOfUs, Addameer, Al-Haq

Belgium :

Broederlijk Delen, 11.11.11 vecht mee tegen onrecht, Association Belgo-Palestinienne (ABP), CNCD 11.11.11, Coordination Nationale d’Action pour la Paix et la Démocratie (CNAPD), Le Monde Selon les Femmes, Ligue des Droits Humains, Solidagro, Vredesactie


Association France Palestine Solidarité , ATMF, CEDETIM, Chrétiens de la Méditerranée, Confédération paysanne, Ensemble!, Groupe d’amitié islamo-chrétienne, La CGT, La Cimade, Les Jeunes écologistes , Ligue des droits de l’Homme, Mouvement international de la Réconciliation – Branche française (M.R.), Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-violente (Mrap), Plateforme des ONG Françaises pour la Palestine , Une Autre Voix Juive, Union Juive Française pour la Paix, Union syndicale Solidaires 


Arabikansojen ystävyysseura (AKYS), ICAHD Finland, Psykologien Sosiaalinen Vastuu Ry, Rauhanliitto, Sadankomitea – Committee of 100 in Finland, Suomen Rauhanpuolustajat, Svensk Ungdom / RKP -nuoret, Vihreät nuoret


AK Nahost Berlin, Deutsch-Palästinensische Gesellschaft, Freunde von Sabeel Deutschland, Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost, Kairos Palestine Solidaritätsnetz Deutschland, Palästinakomitee Stuttgart, Palästina Spricht, pax christi Diözesanverband Rottenburg-Stuttgart, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) Deutschland 


Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient (CPJPO)


Academics For Palestine (AFP), ActionAid Ireland, Centre for Global Education, Christian Aid Ireland, Comhlámh, Financial Justice – Ireland, Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign-IPSC, Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council (IMPIC), Justice For Palestine, Kaíros Íreland, National Union of Students – Union of Students in Ireland (NUS-USI), PalFest Ireland – Art/ festival Supporting Palestine, SADAKA (The Ireland Palestine Alliance), TCD Apartheid Free, Trade Union Friends of Palestine, Trócaire, Unite, Uplift – People Powered Change


Amici della Mezza Luna Rossa Palestinese (AMLRP), Arci, Artisti Resistenti, Associazione Amicizia Sardegna Palestina, Associazione di solidarietà internazionale, Assopace Palestina, Casa dei Diritti dei Popoli, Centre Nuovo Modello diSviluppo, Centre Studi Sereno Regis, Comitato Fiorentino “fermiamo la Guerra”, Confederazione dei Comitati di Base – COBAS, COSPE – Together For Change, Costituzione Beni Comuni, Cultura e Libertà, Donne en Nero, Fair watch, FIOM-CGIL, Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso – Onlus, Gazzella, Gruppo Empolese Emisfero Sud (G.E.E.S.), Il Chicco di Senape, Libera, Libere Tutte, Link – Coordinamento Universitario (LINK), Medicina Democratica, Memoria in Movimento, New weapons research group, Parallelo Palestina, Resistenza , Rete Ebrei Contro L’Occupazione, Salaam Ragazzi dell’Olivo, Salaam Ragazzi dell’Olivo – Comitato Di Trieste, Un ponte per, Una Città In Comune, WILPF


Center za družbeno raziskovanje (Cedra), Danes je nov dan, Gibanje za pravice Palestincev, Humanitas, Mirovni inštitut, Proja, Sindikat žerjavistov pomorskih dejavnosti (SŽPD), Slovenska filantropija, 3MUHE Pravična trgovina Fair Trade


Confederación Intersindical Galega, ELA Sindikatua, LAB

Other European:

Betlehems Venner (Denmark), Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (PGS) (Sweden) 

The ELSC has been involved in the ECI since its very initial stage, assisting the seven EU citizens in the preparation of the Initiative and with legal research and analysis throughout the proceedings before the European Court of Justice, when the European Commission refused first to register the ECI. Read more here.

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