Published On: Fri, Sep 11th, 2015

Israel hits out at EU settlement labelling plan

EU flags outside the European Parliament building

The European Union’s parliament overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution to differentiate labels on products made in settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Golan Heights, from those made in the rest of Israel.

The labels were backed by 525 European Parliament members and opposed by 70, while 31 abstained. EU officials claim this is not a boycott and represents an extension of existing EU law, which considers the regions beyond Israel’s pre-1967 lines to be “occupied territory” and not legally part of Israel.

The resolution is non-binding, but been first step in Brussels to put forward guidelines for labelling settlement-made goods, which EU diplomats say they expect to be announced by year end.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in the U.K. when the measure was approved, said, “It is simply a distortion of justice and of logic and I think that it also hurts peace; it does not advance peace. The root of the conflict is not the territories, and the root of the conflict is not the settlements.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, “Under the guise of a technical step, this is an attempt to force a diplomatic solution instead of encouraging the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. Europe is acting with hypocritical sanctimoniousness toward Israel when it does not consider proposing similar solutions to northern Cyprus or western Sahara.”

 

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