Dutch Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) wants the European Commission to formally address Israel's settlement activity in the occupied territories and East-Jerusalem. This should be done by means of the EU-Israel association agreement, which should be suspended if the Israeli government does not change its illegal policies. Schaake: "EU-Israel relations are formally governed by respect for human rights and democratic principles, unfortunately Israel's settlement policies do not show enough respect for our agreements. Despite repeated calls by the EU to halt the construction of new houses and to respect the rights of the Palestinians, Israel continues the construction. The EU loses its credibility if it does not adopt a new approach." Violation of international law To take action, Schaake and twenty-two colleagues, sent a letter to EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton. "The EU has consistently stated that the settlement policy violates international law and poses an obstacle to peace, particularly an agreed two-state solution. Regrettably, so far the EU's criticism has been without any results or improvements. We should back up our words with actions", Schaake says. The EU-Israel association agreement provides a dispute settlement mechanism which can be invoked by both parties. Community of values Schaake stresses the importance of the EU protecting and promoting international law and human rights globally. To that end the EU should not be reluctant to use association- and trade agreements conditional on equal respect by the EU's partner countries. Schaake: "The EU is not merely a trade block, but also a community of values. That means that we should use our economic leverage to improve the lives and positions of people globally." Today Israeli President Shimon Peres addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg.