Is­rael in last-minute fight to ward off EU la­belling

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

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.

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