The European Union agreed to guidelines under which its member states would label products from West Bank settlements.
According to reports, on the morning of November 11, the European Commission in Brussels adopted a “notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.”
A senior European diplomat told JTA on November 10 that the guidelines carry clarifications on E.U. requirements for labels on products that are sold in the European Union that are made or packaged in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. The diplomat said that the guidelines would not affect trade with Israel or incur sanctions on the E.U. states that do not obey.
The E.U. mission Israel said in a fact sheet that was released on November 11 that the E.U. guidelines will require the labels to say “Made in the West Bank (Israeli settlement),” or “Made in the Golan (Israeli settlement).”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry allegedly has summoned E.U. Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Anderson over the adoption of the instructions. Faaborg-Anderson will supposedly visit the Foreign Ministry during the evening of November 11.
On November 11, the Foreign Ministry released a statement that criticized the decision.
“We regret that the E.U. 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 E.U. chooses to apply a double standard concerning Israel, while ignoring that there are over 200 other territorial disputes worldwide, including those occurring within the E.U. or on its doorstep. The claim that this is a technical matter is cynical and baseless,” the statement said.
The ministry said that the adoption of guidelines could negatively impact attempts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“It is bound to reinforce the P.A.’s refusal to conduct direct negotiations with Israel, negotiations that the E.U. 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 E.U. publicly opposes. This recent step raises questions regarding the role that the E.U. aspires to play. It may also have implications for Israel-E.U. relations,” the statement said.