EU Envoy: There's Growing Support for Labeling Initiative
The outgoing European Union (EU) envoy to the Middle East said on Thursday there is growing support among the 28 member states for labeling products from Judea and Samaria, reports The Associated Press (AP).
According to the report, the envoy, Andreas Reinicke, said that the number of EU states in favor of labeling has grown from two to 14 since he assumed his post nearly two years ago.
That momentum, claimed Reinicke, is growing.
Speaking from Brussels, the outgoing envoy said discussions on EU-wide labeling were put on hold after Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace talks resumed five months ago.
Reinicke added that if talks fail, discussions on labeling and other possible sanctions, including scaling back aid for the Palestinian Authority, could resume.
The remarks echo ones made just two weeks ago by a senior EU official, who said that the EU was fed up with the lack of progress in the peace talks and was ready to take action against both sides.
That official, too, said the 28-nation bloc was considering reviving its plan to label products manufactured in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
Plans to label “settlement products” have been in the works for a while. Earlier this year, the EU formally recommended that Israeli activity in Judea and Samaria be “prevented” through an economic boycott of Jewish industry in those regions. Such a move would affect tens of thousands of PA Arabs who are employed in Jewish-owned industry in the area.
EU foreign ministers, including Britain’s William Hague and Laurent Fabius of France, indicated at one point they would back the labeling initiative, but it was later reported that the plans were postponed after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry intervened.
Earlier this week, the EU pledged "unprecedented" levels of support to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the event that the two parties reach a final status agreement.
EU foreign ministers said the 28-nation bloc would "contribute substantially" to post-conflict arrangements to ensure the sustainability of a peace deal.