B’nai B’rith International strongly condemns the free trade agreement that was signed yesterday between the South American trade bloc Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) and the Palestinian Authority.
This free trade deal, intended to mirror the one signed between Mercosur and Israel that came into force this March, was initialed in Ramallah in October and was signed yesterday at a Mercosur summit at its headquarters in Montevideo, Uruguay. Mercosur’s members have already prematurely recognized a Palestinian state and this is just another step in that direction. Given that trade between the Palestinians and Mercosur is virtually non-existent, it is clear that this agreement is intended to send a political message.
“By signing this agreement, the countries of Mercosur are once again favoring the Palestinian unilateral approach of avoiding negotiations with Israel by instead seeking support from the international community,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “This approach is highly detrimental to the peace process since peace can only come through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.”
“The countries, all democracies in the region, should be playing a more constructive role by sending the message to the Palestinians that they cannot get a state without making peace with Israel,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.
With an office in Montevideo, B’nai B’rith International has been speaking out on this issue throughout the region and the world. B’nai B’rith will continue to monitor these developments.