EU Commission approves Israeli 'settlement' product guidelines (Illustrative picture).
(photo credit: REUTERS,JPOST STAFF)
The EU should not have instructed member states to label products from the West Bank, Golan Heights and Jerusalem, European Parliament delegation for relations with Israel chairman Fulvio Martusciello said on a visit to the Knesset Tuesday.
“The decision to label products was a mistake,” the Italian MEP said. “Europe is loud about Israel, but quiet about 200 other conflicts around the world.”
Martusciello said that many European countries doubt the helpfulness of the decision.
Netanyahu: The European Union should be ashamed of itself
MEP Marijana Petir of Croatia pointed out that the labeling is not mandatory and member states can decide whether to implement it or not.
“We will not boycott Israeli goods,” she added.
According to the European Commission, labeling is required in all member states for fresh fruit, vegetables, wine, honey, olive oil, eggs, poultry, organic produce and cosmetics.
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein said Israel was very disappointed by the decision, pointing out that many Palestinians work in Israeli factories in the West Bank and Jerusalem. “If this decision leads factories to shut down, it will increase unemployment and despair on the Palestinian side, and the way from there to terrorism is short,” Edelstein warned.
The head of the Knesset delegation for relations with the European Parliament MK Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid) said that Israel often feels that Europeans do not understand the situation, and criticize it unjustly without looking into the details. He called the labeling directive “shameful, patronizing, mistaken, and inspired by [the boycott, divest and sanctions movement].”
MK Avi Dichter (Likud) compared labeling products to labeling people, and MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) argued that the policy will lead fewer Israelis to support peace efforts.
“What are they attacking? Our right to a Jewish state? The Israeli research that is helping all of humanity? Israel is defending Europe from ISIS,” MK Eli Alalouf (Kulanu) said.
Edelstein also expressed his condolences over last weekend’s terrorist attack in Paris.
“Terrorism must be fought determinedly, not through demonstrations or expressing solidarity with the victims.
Europe must act fast,” he stated, adding, “Unfortunately, Israel has a lot of experience fighting terrorism; we would be happy to share it.”
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