The European Union (EU) today approved new guidelines for marking products made in Jewish communities over the Green Line. Brussels regards this as a technical decision, but the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is unacceptable discrimination.
The European Commission "this morning adopted an interpretive document on the place of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967," an official EU source said.
Earlier, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in an interview that it could be said that "this is probably an accomplished fact," adding that Israel had to deal with the situation and its political consequences.
According to Nahshon, the EU measure is "the epitome of hypocrisy." He said, "This is a clearly political measure aimed at forcing a political solution on us without negotiations with the Palestinians. We told the Europeans, 'Do you want to discuss the future of the territories and the status of the Jewish communities? Fine. The right way of doing this, however, is through direct negotiations'."
Nahshon criticized the Europeans, saying, "It would be better for them to direct their efforts at persuading the Palestinians to return to negotiations in order to achieve peace, instead of hiding behind bureaucracy and documents."
A senior European diplomat said yesterday that the announcement would include guidelines for various EU countries regarding the marking of products. In the first stage, the place of manufacture would be marked on products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights. The European Commission will be responsible for implementing the guidelines, while each country can exercise its independent judgment about the extent of implementation in its territory.
"This is reminiscent of dark periods of history, because there are about 200 territorial disputes around the world, but the only place where products are marked is here," Nahshon pointed out and warned, "It starts with marking products from Jewish communities over the Green Line, but it can expand into a general boycott of Israeli products if the European consumer thinks he 'doesn't want to get into trouble'."
Nahshon expressed hope that despite the decision, not all EU countries would rush to mark products from Jewish communities over the Green Line. "It's a question of implementation, because these guidelines have to be implemented in each individual country. We believe and hope that in friendly countries like Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and others, implementation will not be so strict, because they realize that it opens to door to a boycott and discrimination against Israel," he stated, adding in summary, "We have a long battle ahead of us. What's happening today is just the first inning. We'll go on struggling against this as long as necessary."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 11, 2015
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