Experts at the European Council of Foreign Relations have called on the European Union to ensure that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank do not benefit from Israel-EU bilateral relations.
Mattia Toaldo and Hugh Lovatt argued in a paper released on Wednesday by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), which specializes in EU policy, that differentiating between Israel and settlement activities within the EU’s bilateral relations is one of most powerful tools the 28-nation bloc has to challenge the status-quo.
EU foreign ministers agreed this week to push for introduction of labels that identify Israeli goods made in settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Toaldo and Lovatt also discuss extending the differentiation policy to new areas such as the European and Israeli financial sectors and the charitable status within the EU of organizations that support Israel’s settlement enterprise.
Mattia Toaldo, policy fellow and expert in Israeli and Palestinian politics at the ECFR, said in a statement on Wednesday: “For years now, Europeans have been, de facto, pursuing a process of differentiation but have been reluctant to acknowledge it.”
“It is now time to own and defend this policy. Until Israel either makes the same differentiation or ends its settlement and occupation policy, the EU has a legal requirement to do so itself,” Toaldo said.