Israel has been forced to take action against the European Union and its biased and seemingly anti-Semitic policies after it took further steps to boycott Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria.
Israel on Sunday suspended contacts with European Union (EU) representatives on Mideast peace issues to protest the 28-nation bloc’s decision to label Israeli exports from the Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, which the EU deems as “occupied” territory.
Israel has been up in arms since the EU announced this month that goods produced in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights must have special labels and cannot say they were made in Israel. Israel says the decision is discriminatory and unfairly singles out Israel while ignoring some 200 similar conflicts around the globe. The EU claims it is a technical matter to clarify the origins of the products.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced late Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered contacts frozen until a “reassessment process is completed.”
The peace process with the Palestinians has been stalemated for years, so the practical implications of the announcement were not immediately clear. The Israeli statement did not say which institutions are affected, and an EU official would only say the bloc was still trying to determine the effect of the move.
Immediately after the EU’s decision on November 11, Israel also said it would suspend dialogue on certain bilateral political issues, primarily those pertaining to the Palestinians.
Israeli sovereignty returned to Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem was unified in the 1967 Six Day War, taking these areas from Jordan. The Palestinians, who have never controlled these areas, claim these territories as part of a future state.
Israel has linked the EU move to a growing international boycott movement, and some officials have accused the EU of anti-Semitism.
The EU says it opposes boycotts, and says its move is a matter of consumer protection. However, it has failed to apply the same policy towards other countries with similar territorial disputes.
The move has little effect on Israel’s economy, as products from Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, including agricultural goods, olive oil, wines and cosmetics, make up a tiny percentage of Israeli exports to Europe.
Those who stand to be affected by the EU’s decision are the Palestinians, who will lose their jobs because of the boycotts.
The EU labeling move has come during a two-month spate of Palestinian terror attacks that shows no signs of ending. In the latest bloodshed, Palestinian terrorists carried out a pair of stabbings Sunday.
The violence erupted in mid-September after Palestinians began rioting at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Since then, 21 Israelis have been murdered in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings and shootings.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
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