Israeli newspaper Yada’out Ahrenout said yesterday that a conference to be held today in Brussels between European Union (EU) states will make an official decision on whether or not to mark goods produced in Israeli settlements, an initiative which would make such goods easier to boycott on the European markets.
The newspaper said that the Israeli ambassador to the EU had described the implementation of this step as a manifestation of political pressure on Israel to change its position via economic means.
The newspaper added that Israel was afraid of additional steps which could be taken by the EU after a resolution to mark settlement goods. The marking would indicate that the goods were produced in an Israeli settlement, which are illegal under international law. If the EU does decide in the coming few months to mark these goods, Israel will be put in a very awkward position.
Reports of Israel’s fear came after many meetings were held between senior European officials headed by EU Commissioner Frederika Moghreney and Foreign Ministers from France, Germany and Britain to discuss the implementation of the plan to mark settlement products, with the decision expected today.
According to the newspaper, the EU has studied and discussed over the last three years the project to mark settlement goods, but it had faltered under pressure from US Foreign Minister to prioritise negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Israeli ambassador to the EU described the step as a manifestation of political pressure on Israel in order to influence the outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict via economic means, which he said was illegal intervention.
He added that this European resolution would be a step towards the imposition of sanctions on the Israel state, pointing out that it would support international activists in their boycott of Israel.
An EU spokesman responded to the remarks made by the Israeli ambassador, stressing that the marking of goods was a fundamental part of EU consumer policy. He added that the EU would help countries to implement the policy and publicise details on settlement goods explaining their origin because the EU viewed the settlements as illegally located on occupied land. He pointed out that countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium and Denmark had already begun marking these products.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the marking of settlement goods. It said that the marking would confuse European consumers, who would then stop buying Israeli goods in general.