EU approves labelling of Israel settlement products: statement
The European Union on Wednesday backed the labelling of products from Israeli settlements, in a move that Israel has warned will harm the peace process with the Palestinians.
At a meeting in Brussels, the European Commission, the EU’s powerful executive, said in a statement that it had “adopted this morning the interpretative notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.”
The notice is effectively a set of guidelines for labelling products from Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and annexed east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, all occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
The settlements are deemed illegal under international law.
The first instructions are set to be for food and other industries, including potentially specifying the wording to be used on labels.
There was no immediate reaction from Israel, but Israel’s ambassador to the EU warned on Tuesday that there would be “implications” from the decision.
“Frankly this is extremely disappointing, it’s unacceptable, and it’s not going to be taken lightly in Israel, this will have implications,” said the envoy, David Walzer.
“We welcome EU contributions to the peace process — what comes tomorrow might force us to reconsider that, this cannot be described as business as usual or diplomatic disagreements,” he told journalists.
“This for us in Israel feels like we have been singled out for quasi sanctions using economic tools for punishment.”
Israel has mounted a long and vocal campaign against the labelling plan, which was first proposeed in 2012.
On Tuesday Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a loyal ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the proposal was “disguised anti-semitism”.
Netanyahu meanwhile in September likened the labelling plan to what he said were similar labels placed on Jewish products in the Nazi era.