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🇪🇺 Let's Stop the War Crime Trade

🇪🇺 Let's Stop the War Crime Trade

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Sabrin and Farah, in the photo above, had their home demolished twice by the Israeli military. At any moment now, military bulldozers will crush the homes and forcibly displace 569 Palestinian children. These kids live under constant fear knowing that their families will be shattered . Their land stolen. Their way of life destroyed forever.

This suffering has been going on for decades. Over 27,000  homes have already been destroyed . On the ruins, illegal businesses are built that make millions selling their products in Europe . We can’t allow this tragedy to go on!

Now there’s a way to stop it: a historically diverse movement, including Palestinians, Jews, and Europeans have launched a European Citizen's Initiative to take away the economic incentives that make endless war more profitable than peace .

This official EU citizen’s initiative could put an end to the cycle of violence and military occupation. And not only for Palestine: the initiative targets all businesses and governments that seek to profit from occupying other people’s lands - so it would protect Ukrainian, Armenian and other citizens across the world facing invading armies. On the long road towards world peace, this would be an unprecedented step in removing the profit incentives for war.

We have less than 4 months to collect the required signatures. Let's ensure our money never funds military occupation and land theft, in Palestine or anywhere else.

Over 100 European organisations have launched a citizen initiative that could force Europe to ban this criminal trade. For this effort to succeed, European law requires that it first collect a million signatures in the next four months . That’s where we come in -- if everyone reading this adds their name to the petition, we will achieve our goal within the next month. Add your name now and share with everyone!

Questions & Answers

How is a European Citizens’ Initiative different from an Avaaz petition?
A European Citizens’ Initiative is different from a “normal” petition: it is an official democratic instrument that enables EU citizens to help shape Europe by asking the European Commission to propose a legislative act. If we manage to collect one million (validated) signatures, the EU Commission will be legally obliged to deal with our demands.

Why do I have to provide more personal data to sign this Initiative?
Avaaz does not take the decision over what data is required for the signing of a European Citizens’ Initiative by the member states. The respective EU member states determine themselves which data must be collected, so that the signatures are valid and counted. For this reason, in a European Citizens Initiative it is necessary to give more personal data than you are used to from other “petitions”.

Will my personal data be treated confidentially?
All data collected by signing this initiative will not be passed on to Avaaz – instead, it is forwarded directly to a secure server located in Germany, using a specially certified software (OpenECI), so that the responsible national authorities can verify the validity of your vote. This is necessary because an European Citizens’ Initiative is an official EU instrument, so whether the signatures actually come from citizens of an EU member state has to be checked. Your personal data will be permanently deleted after official verification by the national authorities.

Why didn’t I receive a confirmation e-mail when I signed the ECI?
Your data will of course be transmitted securely and encrypted. All data collected – when signing the ECI in “Step 2” – with the software certified by the European Commission (OpenECI) goes directly to a secure server. It will not be sent to us and for this reason it is not possible to send you a confirmation of your participation. Only the competent national authorities can inspect the votes for random verification of their validity. This is necessary because an ECI is an official EU instrument. Your personal data will be permanently deleted after official verification by the national authorities.

I’m not sure I’ve signed this initiative yet. Can I sign a second time or is my signature invalidated? 
Yes, sign again if you’re unsure. Your signature is valid and is counted only once. The software automatically detects double signatures and sorts out duplicates.

Does the trade with illegal settlements violate international law? 
Yes, it is. Illegal settlements break the highest norms of international law. These include the prohibition to acquire territory by the use of force, the prohibition on colonialism and apartheid, the right to self-determination, and the fundamental norms of international humanitarian law. All States and international organizations, including the EU and its Member States, have obligations to not recognize and not assist breaches of these norms. Trade, however, both recognizes illegal settlements and assists them and their expansion.

Are trade bans effective? 
For some, trade bans may feel ineffective – but the reality is, they can really work. Such bans helped end Apartheid in South Africa, and reduced the trade in blood diamonds across the world. Key politicians across Europe have told Avaaz that if this initiative reaches 1 million signers, it would give them the public support they need to overcome the powerful lobbies blocking action and help them move to imposing the much needed ban. When EU organizations proposed a policy of banning these goods, the stocks of companies profiting from war crimes tanked - showing how effective such a ban could be on the cost-benefit analysis of those profiting from building on stolen lands. This initiative will not only save lives but actually give peace a fighting chance by decreasing the financial incentives for wars.

More Questions?
Here you can find more answers.

About this European Citizens Initiative

The EU opposes annexation and considers illegal settlements in occupied territories as an obstacle to international peace and stability. But even though illegal settlements constitute a war crime, the EU allows trade with them. That trade allows for profits from annexation and contributes to the expansion of illegal settlements across the world. We are calling for an EU law that will end trade with illegal settlements once and for all. This law will apply to occupied territories anywhere, among them the Occupied Palestine Territory and Israel’s illegal settlements there. The law will also send a powerful signal around the world that the EU will no longer reward territorial aggression with trade and profits.

Photo credits:
Keren Manor/Activestill.org
OCHA Occupied Palestinian Territory