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Photo: Gil Yohanan
Slivan Shalom: EU blames Israel for stalemate in peace talks.
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Israeli officials slam EU bid to mark settlement products

'They can put a yellow patch on Israeli products,' Foreign Minister Lieberman says after EU foreign ministry lead bid to label West Bank-made products.

Israeli officials fired back at the call by 16 European foreign minister to mark products made in the West Bank's settlements, evoking a Holocaust-era comparisons and claiming the EU was blaming Israel for the stalemate in peace talks.

 

 

"They can put a yellow patch on products from Judea and Samaria and the Golan," Foreign Minister Lieberman said defiantly Friday to Israel Radio.

 

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

A top foreign ministry official echoed the claim, saying  "It seems some European nations now want to put a yellow patch on Israeli products. We know that what begins as marking Israeli products, quickly deteriorates into an overall boycott of Israeli goods."

 

The news of the letter, signed by 16 out 28 EU foreign ministers, broke Thursday and gained almost across the board criticism from Israeli politicians.

 

In the letter, the ministers called on the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to advance a proposal to mark products made in West Bank settlements and assure "correct and coherent implementation of EU labeling legislation."

The push by Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders was supported by the top diplomats of the UK, France, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, Finland, and Austria.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (Photo: EPA)
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (Photo: EPA)

 

Israel's Energy Minister Silvan Shalom slammed the move as counter-productive, saying they do little to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians. According to him, "such moves began a decade ago and have achieved little."

 

Shalom further told Israeli Radio that the move placed on the onus of the stalemate in peace talks on Israel and not the Palestinians.

 

The center-left also had little praise for the initiative, but saying it was a response to the current government's reluctance to either move forward with the two-state solution or present an alternative.

 

"The Europeans have had enough with Israel jumping through hoops just not to implement the two state solution without outline an alternative policy, the Zionist Union's MK Nahman Shai said.

 

Photo: EPA (Photo: AFP)
Photo: EPA

 

After praising Mogherini for renewing the EU's commitment to the Middle East peace process, the letter draws the foreign policy chief's attention to a similar letter in 2013 to her predecessor, insisting the implementation of the union's legislation was an important component of the Mideast policy.

 

"Following the public commitment made by the Council in May and December 2012 and more recently in November 2014, we remain of the view that this is an important step in the full implementation of EU longstanding policy, in relation to the preservation of the two-state solution," the foreign ministers wrote in the letter.

 

They stressed that "European consumers must indeed have confidence in knowing the origin of goods they are purchasing. Green Line Israel and Palestinian producers will benefit from this."

 

Currently, only a handful of European Union nations have ordered their supermarkets to mark products made in Israeli settlements. As mentioned in the letter, the demand for a unified European policy on the labeling of West Bank goods had been raised several times in recent years.

 

The aforementioned attempt in 2013 – submitted by 13 foreign ministers to Catherine Ashton – was blocked by US Secretary of State John Kerry, out of concern it would harm his efforts to renew the negotiations between Israeli and Palestinians.

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 04.17.15, 10:16
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