Israel is fighting back against the European countries that supported the labeling of products from territories liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.
Israel announced that it is taking punitive measures against 16 European Union (EU) countries that supported the initiative to label products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, YNET News reported on Thursday.
The EU has published specific guidelines in labeling products from areas liberated during the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel, directly threatened with annihilation by the surrounding Arab countries, launched a war in self-defense.
The 16 EU countries to be affected are the UK, France, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and Finland.
Italy and the Netherlands are among the EU countries that have strong ties with Israel, as opposed to others, such as Ireland and Sweden. The measures taken against the former will therefore be lighter.
According to government sources, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini that the EU step would damage relations with Israel.
The measures, YNET said, “include a re-evaluation of the EU’s role in the peace process; summoning the ambassadors of the 16 countries to the Foreign Ministry for an official rebuke; and restricting meetings between ambassadors and senior Israeli officials to low-level government staffers.”
As a result, the influence of the European ambassadors will be weaker, and visits by European diplomats are likely to be restricted.
“From now on we will be very measured in how we behave with these visitors,” a senior Israeli official said. “We will be control the flow of (passage) and will not authorize things automatically.”
The new restrictions will also affect EU projects in Judea and Samaria. “They lead many projects which need our support, but you can’t act against us and then expect that everything will continue as normal,” the official added.
“The EU decision is hypocritical and constitutes a double standard; it singles out Israel and not the 200 other conflicts around the world,” Netanyahu declared last week, following the EU announcement. “We are not prepared to accept the fact that Europe is labeling the side that is being attacked by terrorism,” he said. “The labeling of products of the Jewish state by the European Union brings back dark memories. Europe should be ashamed of itself. It took an immoral decision. Of the hundreds of territorial conflicts around the world, it chose to single out Israel and Israel alone, while it’s fighting with its back against the wall against the wave of terror.”
EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen defended the decision to label the products. “This is a small technical addition to something that has existed for a very long time, the trade facilitation between products coming from Israel proper, within its 1967 lines, and products coming from beyond the Green Line, but I want to emphasize strongly that this is not a boycott,” he told reporters last week.
“I’ve been shocked to hear claims of anti-Semitism and historical comparisons or analogies to the persecution of Jews in Germany in the 30s and 40s,” he said at the Jerusalem Post‘s Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday.