`Israel Continues Pressure on EU Over Labeling Rule

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Israel Continues Pressure on EU Over Labeling Rule

Dec. 2, 2015
Wendy Logan

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The Euro­pean Union con­tin­ues to assert that its recently approved label­ing pol­icy for prod­ucts exported from West Bank Set­tle­ment ter­ri­to­ries is sim­ply a mat­ter of geo­graph­i­cal des­ig­na­tion and ori­gin, but accord­ing to a story by The Asso­ci­ated Press, the Israeli gov­ern­ment isn’t buy­ing it. The news agency reported on Sun­day the announce­ment by Israel’s For­eign Min­istry to sus­pend con­tacts with Euro­pean Union rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Mideast peace issues” as a means of protest.

Until com­ple­tion of the reassess­ment, the Prime Min­is­ter has ordered a sus­pen­sion of diplo­matic con­tacts with the EU and its rep­re­sen­ta­tives in this mat­ter.- Israel For­eign Min­istry state­ment

The move is in response to new EU export reg­u­la­tions passed in early Novem­ber that now require Jew­ish set­tle­ments in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights to spec­ify the ori­gin of their goods with unam­bigu­ous lan­guage indi­cat­ing Israeli occu­pa­tion.

Prod­ucts from the ter­ri­to­ries in ques­tion, includ­ing poul­try, dates, cos­met­ics, wine, and olive oil, among other goods, account for just a frac­tion of Israeli exports to Europe. Nonethe­less, Israeli offi­cials led by the Prime Min­is­ter are denounc­ing the deci­sion as dis­crim­i­na­tory, bor­der­ing on anti-Semitic, cit­ing con­tin­ued vio­lence pre­cip­i­tated by Pales­tini­ans in recent months.

On Novem­ber 12, Netanyahu issued a stern state­ment: The Euro­pean Union has decided to label only Israel, and we are not pre­pared to accept the fact that Europe is label­ing the side that is being attacked by ter­ror­ism.”

With this recent move, Netanyahu has ordered a reassess­ment of the involve­ment of EU bod­ies in every­thing that is con­nected to the diplo­matic process with the Pales­tini­ans,” accord­ing to the ministry’s state­ment on Sun­day. Until com­ple­tion of the reassess­ment, the Prime Min­is­ter has ordered a sus­pen­sion of diplo­matic con­tacts with the EU and its rep­re­sen­ta­tives in this mat­ter.”

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Still, as rela­tion­ships between exporters and indi­vid­ual mem­bers of the EU will be per­mit­ted to con­tinue, and Mid­dle East peace talks broke down months ago, var­i­ous news agen­cies are left to spec­u­late on whether the state­ment by the Israelis amounts to any­thing beyond pos­tur­ing.

For its part, the EU as a 28-nation body does not rec­og­nize Israeli con­trol over the ter­ri­to­ries seized in 1967.

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