PM Netanyahu (R) with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO) (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Netanyahu Mogherini

After the European Union decided to label Israeli products made in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, Israel broke off diplomatic ties concerning the conflict with the Palestinians. Today, Israel announced it has succeeded in its bid to clarify the issues and repair relations with the EU.

Israel’s foreign ministry says relations with the European Union (EU) are “close and friendly” again after tensions arose last year over the bloc’s decision to label exports from Judea and Samaria, singling them out to boycotts.

Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the sides had “overcome the crisis” after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini spoke Friday.

Netanyahu said the restoration of full ties with the EU is a “step in the right direction.” In remarks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that in his phone conversation over the weekend with Mogherini, he heard that the EU opposes any boycott of Israel. The prime minister said Mogherini also told him that the labeling of goods from the territories does not reflect the EU’s stance regarding final borders of the state of Israel, which can only be determined in direct negotiations between the sides.

In November, Israel suspended contacts with EU officials on the political process with the Palestinians to protest the move, which it said is discriminatory.

Last week reports emerged that Israel and the EU were secretly holding talks in an attempt to resolve the diplomatic crisis.

According to one report, the EU will not rescind its directive to specially label Israeli products coming from Judea and Samaria, but has offered a form of compensation for the damages Israel might incur in return for the renewal of their suspended diplomatic activities and involvement in a possible diplomatic resolution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Helga Schmid, the EU’s Deputy Secretary General for the External Action Service, in Israel, reportedly arrived in Israel last week for meetings with Israeli officials.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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