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EU adds part of Modi'in to settlement list
By HERB KEINON
14/08/2012
Israel protests publicizing list of areas from which EU duties must be levied; no policy change as list's scope grows.
 
Ignoring a formal Israeli protest, the European Union on Tuesday publicized a list of Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line – including parts of Modi’in, Maccabim and Re’ut – from which manufactured products will not be allowed duty-free entrance into Europe.

Since 2005, Israeli exporters to EU countries have had to list zip codes and place names from where goods were manufactured. Under the EU-Israel free trade agreement, Israeli products are allowed duty-free entry into the EU, but not goods made in the settlements. EU products coming into Israel also enjoy a duty-free status.

Israeli officials said that amid protests from various European NGOs and parliamentarians, who claimed that a number of goods were slipping through the cracks, the EU decided to publicize the list of locales and zip codes from which duties must be levied. The policy itself is not new, only the publication of the names.

Nevertheless, it elicited an angry reaction from the Foreign Ministry for two reasons: the move was carried out even though Israel and the EU have been in consultation about it for a number of weeks, and it included three zip codes – 71724, 71728 and 71799 – in Modi’in, Maccabim and Re’ut.

“For anyone who deals in reality, there is not the slightest doubt that the Modi’in, Maccabim and Re’ut localities are an integral part of Israel, and their future is not in question,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The EU ignores reality when it extends the domain of conflict to places and issues that do not belong there,” the statement continued.

One official said the EU had succeeded in bringing into conflict an area that even the Palestinians never discuss: the parts of Modi’in, Maccabim and Re’ut that lie beyond the Green Line in an area known as “no-man’s land.”

No-man’s land is a narrow ribbon of land between Israel and the West Bank, whose sovereignty was never fully clarified after the War of Independence in 1948.

“Remarkably,” the Foreign Ministry statement said, “by the unilateral publication of the locations list on the Internet, the EU has unacceptably cut off a negotiating process regarding this very issue. This action, conducted ‘ex abrupto,’ has therefore been the object of an official protest lodged by the Mission of Israel in Brussels to the European Union.”

That protest, sent on August 3, said that Israel viewed the action as “one-sided” and requested that the European Commission suspend the move. The EC did not heed the protest.

An EU official said that the union’s position is that everything not inside the Green Line, even if part of no-man’s land, is not considered part of the State of Israel for the purpose of the EU-Israel free trade agreement.

The EU had no immediate response to the Foreign Ministry’s statement.

A zip code in Har Adar, a community in the Jerusalem corridor built on both sides of the Green Line, also appears on the list (90836).

In addition, the list also includes the settlements on the Golan Heights, as well as nearly 300 zip codes in “east Jerusalem.”

The EC published the list on its Taxation and Customs Union website.
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