A man looks at photographs of Hungarian Jews held at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War II.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The European Union might as well label West Bank settlement products with “yellow stars,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Friday in reaction to its push to let consumers know which Israeli products were produced over the Green Line.
He noted that the issue had hit the Israeli media on Wednesday, as the country held its annual commemoration for the 6 million European Jews who were killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust during World War II.
As part of their initial decrees against the Jews, the Nazis forced them to wear yellow stars.
Lieberman in an interview with Israel Radio said he had a suggestion for the EU’s cynical drive with regard to the settlements.
“They can take a yellow star and mark all the product from Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights with a yellow star,” he said.
The issue has to been in the background of what is happening in the region, Liberman said.
Just look at the people who have been forced to flee and the massacres that have occurred in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk outside of Damascus in Syria.
“This has passed in silence. No EU minister has asked for an emergency meeting about this, outside from a few public statements, nothing has been done,” Liberman said.
Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid spoke by telephone with the EU’s foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini and asked her not to move forward with the matter.
“This is a de-facto call to boycott Israel,” he said. “There is no difference between products which are produced over the Green Line and those that are produced within the Green Line.
But on Friday, Mogherini’s office said it was working to publish guidelines on the consumer labeling for EU stores of products produced over the Green Line, according to Bloomberg.
This includes not just West Bank settlement but also east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
On Wednesday Haaretz published a letter by 16 foreign ministers that called for the EU to publish its long awaited guidelines on the consumer labeling of West Bank settlement products in EU stores.
The products are already marked for EU customs officials, so that they are not included in Israel’s free trade arrangement with the EU.
But when consumers pick the products up in stores, they can only see that it is made in Israel.
Mogherini’s predecessor Catherine Ashton had said the EU would provide member states with guidelines that would show how to use existing EU legislation to legally mark the products. It would be up to the 28 individual EU member states to decide if they wanted to label the products.
But when the US initiated its nine-month peace process from August 2013 to April 2014, it asked the EU to freeze the issuance of the guidelines to help create a conducive climate for talks. When the US-led negotiations fell apart, the guidelines remained frozen.
The EU ministers, including those from France and Great Britain, told Mogherini the time had come to publish those guidelines.
EU consumers, they said, have a right to know the origin of the products they are purchasing, adding that it was important to take a step against settlement expansion which threatens the prospect of a just and lasting peace.