A week after European Union’s decision to label goods produced in the settlements, Israel announces gloves are off and that it is taking steps against 16 European countries that supported the initiative.
Israel has decided to fight back against the European Union’s decision to start labeling goods produced in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, starting with measures take against 16 European countries that pushed for product labeling in April. The countries Israel plans to take measures against are the UK, France, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and Finland.
Government sources said that ahead of the decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote to the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, warning her that the move would likely damage relations between Israel and the European Union. The measures include a re-evaluation of the EU’s role in the peace process; and restricting meetings between ambassadors and senior Israeli officials to low-level government staffers. This will naturally diminish the influence those ambassadors will have in their role. The visits of foreign representatives from the countries concerned will also be restricted, with their meetings unlikely to include time with the prime minister or the president.
The final measure will be the reduction and postponement of dialogue between Israel and the EU. This is considered in Israel to be an especially important area for the EU, which is said to frequently request discussions on strategy, fighting terrorism, dealing with immigrants, intelligence exchange and more.