Israel in last-minute fight to ward off EU labelling
ISRAEL IS waging a diplomatic battle to try to prevent the publication next week of Europe-wide guidelines on labelling goods made in the settlements.
While the precise wording of the guidelines is still not clear and may not be completed until hours before the document is published, Israeli politicians and diplomats see any new directive as a setback.
EU efforts to set clear standards for labelling settlement produce have been ongoing for more than seven years.
One of the early backers for such steps was former prime minister Gordon Brown. While Israeli diplomats acknowledge that the prolonged stagnation in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians has renewed EU determination to issue guidelines, the hope is that the directive will not be overly specific or include East Jerusalem as an area that requires flagging up.
The main concern is that while the move will not be an actual sanction or boycott, just a requirement for a different label to those used on other Israeli products, it will boost the BDS movement, which so far has failed to cause any significant damage to Israel’s economy.
On Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely visited the Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank, where she said that the labelling move would mainly hurt over 10,000 Palestinian employees working for Israeli businesses beyond the Green Line.