EU: No intention to boycott settlement products

Official says bloc "continues to oppose boycotts, including boycotts of settlement products."

Euro symbol near European flags 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)
Euro symbol near European flags 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)
Boycotting settlement products is not a sanction the European Union is considering to demonstrate its displeasure with Israel’s recent decision to construct 3,000 new housing units over the Green Line and push forward planning in E1, the EU’s delegation in Tel Aviv clarified Thursday.
A spokesman at the EU delegation was responding to an article in Ma’ariv, which said EU ministers scheduled to meet Monday regarding Israel’s recently announced settlement plans were considering “accelerating, in a full and effective measure, the implementation of legislation on labeling and boycotting settlement products.”
“Boycotts are not on the agenda,” a spokesman at the EU Embassy said. “The EU continues to oppose boycotts, including boycotts of settlement products.”
The official said the EU adhered to a general policy of opposing boycotts, except in extreme situations such as Iran and Syria. Generally, the spokesman said, there has to be action at the level of the UN Security Council before the EU places boycotts on countries.
While an EU boycott of settlement products is not on the agenda, there is likely to be discussion about speeding up the process of labeling products from the settlements.
Even before Israel’s decision on settlement construction last Friday in response to the Palestinians’ successful UN bid, the EU held a meeting in Brussels last month to discuss the matter of labels, with representatives of Britain, Ireland, Denmark and some NGOs attending.
The meeting was described afterward as a “reality check” for the NGOs, some of which had been hoping that the EU would take up the mantle of boycott and divestment from Israel – something the EU officials made clear was not in the works.
It also emerged from the meeting that the entire labeling issue at the EU level was extremely complex, crossing various ministerial jurisdictions and requiring different regulations for different types of product.
Rather than the EU taking any unified action on the matter, certain individual countries – such as Denmark – are likely to implement the measure on their own.
Since 2010, Britain has had an advisory for merchants to label products coming from the settlements, and the Tesco supermarket chain labels produce such as dates from Jordan Valley settlements as “Product of West Bank/Israeli settlement produce.” Agricultural products from Palestinian villages are labeled as “Product of West Bank/Palestinian produce.”