1157 GMT September 24, 2021
Foreign minister Javad Zarif recently cancelled a visit to Austria to protest the latter's decision to hoist the Israeli flag in support of #Israel in the midst of the #Gaza carnage. In response, the Austrian government issued the following statement:
"We regret this and take note of it, but for us it is as clear as day that when #Hamas fires more than 2,000 rockets at civilian targets in #Israel then we will not remain silent."
While the Austrian government takes note of FM Zarif's decision, it fails to take note of Austria's legal obligations under the EU constitution with regard to Israel's blatant Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law violations:
Indeed, the Lisbon Treaty - at its Preamble, Articles 2, 3, 17 & 21 - emphasizes on the commitment of the EU to fundamental rights and freedoms and stresses on EU & its members' willingness to uphold & promote the respect of Int'l law & take appropriate initiatives to that effect.
Specifically, Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union stipulates that the EU shall contribute to the protection of human rights and the observance of international law in its relations with third parties.
So, the first question is: What appropriate initiatives has the EU and the Austrian government taken to ensure - as per their own obligations - Israel's compliance with International law, HRL and IHL which it has blatantly, demonstrably and undeniably violated?
The Government of Austria is also well advised to take note that the Austrian parliament has enacted laws which - in conformity with Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention - facilitates the exercise of universal jurisdiction in response to war crimes.
What measures has it taken to implement its own domestic law in light of the recent grave breaches of the "laws of armed conflict" and the conspicuous massacre perpetrated by Israel in the Occupied Territories?
Furthermore, Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement states that:
‘‘Relations between the Parties, as well as the provision of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.’’
What measures has the Austrian government taken under the "Israel-EU Association Agreement" in order to ensure the respect of this "essential element", knowing that the violation of an "essential element" of a treaty constitutes sufficient ground for its suspension?
In response to FM Zarif and in defending its support for Israel, the Austrian government claims it cannot "remain silent" in face of Israeli civilians being attacked.
However, the Austrian government does not explicate why it remains silent and passive in face of its own legal, constitutional and - not the least, moral - obligations with regard to Israel as a so-called EU and Austrian "Associate"?
* Reza Nasri is an Iranian international law and foreign policy expert.