A row has erupted between the European Union and Israel over the labelling of products “Made in Israel.”
New guidelines mean Israeli producers must explicitly mark farm goods and other products that come from settlements built on Israeli occupied land, settlements the EU considers illegal.
Israel has described the measure as “discriminatory” and damaging to peace efforts with Palestinians.
But the European Commission says the move won’t change existing laws.
Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue:
“This is a technical issue not a political stance. Products originating in Israel, within its internationally recognised borders benefit from preferential tariff treatment upon their entry into the EU. This situation will not change. So the EU does not support, in any form, a boycott or sanctions against Israel.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who’s in Washington on an official visit, called the decision “hypocritical and a double standard”. He accused the EU of not taking similar steps in hundreds of territorial conflicts elsewhere in the world.
While there is no EU official wording, goods must now carry the word “settlement” on the tag when sold in European shops. The Commission says the measure will give consumers the choice as to whether to buy or avoid Israeli settlement goods
If an Israeli producer refuses to put “settlement” on EU-bound goods, a retail outlet can attach the label themselves.