The European parliament approved a decision calling for the labeling of settlement products on Thursday, with a vote of 525 for and 70 against. Only a small number of European states currently require the labeling of settlement products; however there is now a growing fear that the labeling will become a union-wide policy.
"The policy stinks of boycott," a foreign ministry spokesman said. One of the vote's articles includes a statement made by 16 European foreign ministers who backed the move in April.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response, "We remember what happened when Europeans marked Jewish goods. The EU decision is a distortion of justice and logic."
"The state of Israel views the vote with severity, especially the call for labeling products," the Foreign Ministry responded.
"The labeling of products is an act of discrimination which reeks of a boycott. We are talking about an attempt to force a political solution under the guise of a technical move," the statement continued.
"Europe is acting especially duplicitous in Israel's case, we have yet to see the same policies enacted against North Cyprus or Western Sahara," the ministry concluded.
Deputy Foreign Minister, MK Tzipi Hotovely said in response to the European parliamentary decision, "We must call the child by it's name – labeling products is a boycott. Israel will not allow any body to discriminate between products which are produced by Israeli citizens within Israel's territory."
"The attempts to force a one sided political solution, especially when the topic is product labeling, will lead to nowhere. Immediately following Rosh Hashana I plan to hold an urgent debate with the Europe section of the Ministry on the matter, and initiate a diplomatic campaign against the labeling initiative," she concluded.
The European Union's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini stated on Saturday that work on the union's settlement labeling policy is nearing completion. As of now only a handful of states in the union instruct retail chains to label settlement products, including; Britain, Denmark, Belgium. As a result of the vote, the union is set to adopt a European settlement labeling policy.
Luxemburg's Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn said that the policy's publication is expected to occur by the end of the year. The matter has been on the European Union's agenda for a number of years, but was never adopted as a binding decision.
16 out of the 28 EU foreign Ministers called on the Mogherini to expedite the policy last April. Israel's friends in the union- including the German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Greek, Cypriot, and Romanian Foreign Ministers, among others, did not sign the document.
In the decision, which was approved with by a crushing majority, the EU parliament called for a renewed approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. "The parliament urges the EU to become a real political player in the Middle East peace process, which would benefit the troubled region as a whole." The statement also calls on the union to, "impose a ban on arms exports from the EU to Israel, to prohibit all arms imports from Israel into the EU, and lift the blockade on Gaza."