European Union adopts settlement labeling guidelines


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The European Union approved guidelines under which its member states would label products from West Bank settlements.

The European Commission in Brussels on Wednesday morning adopted a “notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967,” according to reports.

A senior European diplomat told JTA on Tuesday that the guidelines carry explanations on EU requirements for labels on products sold in the European Union that are produced or packaged in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. He said the guidelines will neither impact trade with Israel nor incur sanctions on non-complying EU states.

EU instructions will require the labels to say “Made in the West Bank (Israeli settlement),” or “Made in the Golan (Israeli settlement),” the EU mission to Israel said in a fact sheet released Wednesday.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry reportedly has summoned EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Anderson over the adoption of the guidelines. He reportedly will visit the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday evening.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the decision.

“We regret that the EU has chosen, for political reasons, to take such an exceptional and discriminatory step, inspired by the boycott movement, particularly at this time, when Israel is confronting a wave of terrorism targeting any and all of its citizens,” the statement said.

“It is puzzling and even irritating that the EU chooses to apply a double standard concerning Israel, while ignoring that there are over 200 other territorial disputes worldwide, including those occurring within the EU or on its doorstep. The claim that this is a technical matter is cynical and baseless,” the statement said.

The ministry said the adoption of guidelines could negatively affect attempts to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

“It is bound to reinforce the P.A.’s refusal to conduct direct negotiations with Israel, negotiations that the EU claims to support. Product labeling will strengthen the radical elements advocating a boycott against Israel and denying Israel’s right to exist, contradicting positions that the EU publicly opposes. This recent step raises questions regarding the role that the EU aspires to play. It may also have implications for Israel-EU relations,” the statement said.

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