European Union flags in Brussels 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
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
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
“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
“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.
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.
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.