Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday attacked an EU resolution on labelling goods produced in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In a statement released by his office, Netanyahu referred to the plan as “unjust”. “It is simply a distortion of justice and of logic and I think that it also hurts peace; it does not advance peace. The root of the conflict is not the territories, and the root of the conflict is not the settlements.”
In an apparent reference to the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, he added: “We have historical memory of what happened when Europe labelled Jewish products.”
The European parliament earlier voted in favour of a non-binding resolution to label all exports originating in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights – territory taken by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
“The parliament welcomes the EU’s commitment – in the spirit of differentiation between Israel and its activities in the occupied Palestinian territory – to ensuring that all agreements between the EU and Israel must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967,” the EU resolution stated.
The resolution also called for the EU’s Foreign Affairs Representative Federica Mogherini to “take the lead within the commission with a view to completing the work on EU-wide guidelines on the labelling of Israeli settlement produce.”
The parliament said the EU’s priority should be preserving the viability of the two-state solution and ensuring the rights of civilians.
In a separate statement, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said: “Under the guise of a technical procedure, it’s an attempt to force a diplomatic solution, instead of encouraging the Palestinians to return to negotiations.”
“Europe treats Israel with sanctimonious hypocrisy, while it doesn’t raise the issue of similar solutions in Northern Cyprus and Western Sahara.”
The largest industry in the occupied territories is agriculture, so labels would be applied to fruits, vegetables and herbs.