Speed Reads

Israel and Palestine

Netanyahu speaks out against EU decision to label Israeli settlement goods

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling the European Union's move to separately label products made in West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights settlements "an immoral decision."

The EU said products have to be accurately labeled for technical reasons, not political ones, and released a primer stating: "The EU legislation on indication of origin is very clear: 'Made in Israel' used for the products coming from Israeli settlements would mislead the consumer and therefore is inconsistent with existing EU legislation." Members states are free to choose their own wording, with the EU suggesting using "product of Israeli settlement." During the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel seized the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria, and the EU said that in keeping with international law, it does "not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Israel's Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the decision was discriminatory, and "does not advance any political process between Israel and the Palestinians," and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced that Israel was canceling some diplomatic meetings with the EU. Netanyahu released his own statement on video, and said the "labeling of products of the Jewish state by the European Union brings back dark memories. Europe should be ashamed of itself." The Palestinian Authority's Foreign Ministry said it was a "step in the right direction" and more action would "serve the peace process and preserve the two-state solution." Human Rights Watch estimates that at least $300 million worth of goods from settlements are sold to Europe every year.