Israel suspends contacts with EU in Palestine peace process over labeling of West Bank products

Jerusalem – Benjamin Netanyahu, PM of Israel, ordered the Israeli foreign ministry to shelve contacts with the European Union over the Israel-Palestinian peace process owing to the EU’s new adjunction to label goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

European Commission issued protocol this week entailing that Israeli produce from those areas that came under its control in 1967 should be labeled as “Israeli Settlement” products and not “Made in Israel” as they have been labeled so until now. This guideline creates a bizarre legal rule for Israel, not only conflicting with the EU’s own organizational and bureaucratic stance on these matters but also going against the verdicts of European national courts, and breaching the doctrine of the WTO.

Netanyahu termed this development as “hypocritical and double standard” broadcasting that EU had not taken the similar measures in hundreds of provincial conflicts elsewhere in the world.

Benjamin Netanyahu who is also the foreign minister advised the ministry to re-evaluate the engagement of EU bodies “in everything that is connected to the diplomatic process.” The foreign ministry in a notification said that “until completion of the reassessment, the Prime Minister has ordered a suspension of diplomatic contacts with the EU and its representative in this manner.”

The foreign ministry also clarified in its notification that this suspension of diplomatic accord with EU on peace process related issues is not going to affect Israel’s affiliation with individual countries in the European Union. The Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mr. Emmanuel Nahshon announced that all forms of dialogues carried out with EU member states like France, Britain and Germany over the peace process will go on as it is. He added that PM directed the foreign ministry to “reassess” the degree of engagement that Israel would grant the European Commission, EU’s foreign affairs service and the remaining EU establishments in Brussels dealing with the issues about the diplomatic process with Palestinians. After the complete “reassessment” Israel will decide about if’s and how’s of renewing communication with EU’s representatives in Israel and EU institutions in Brussels on the issue of Palestine.

At the present moment, Federica Mogherini, the head of the European Union foreign policy had no comment on this matter.

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