Arutz Sheva spoke with EU Ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, who spoke about how the European Union monitors the money it gives to the Palestinian Authority and claimed that labeling doesn't harm Israeli products.
The controversial issue regarding the EU in Israel is the issue of labeling. When we talk to Jews in settlements in Judea and Samaria, they say two things. First of all, you're labeling only the Jews and not the Palestinian companies that are in the same area. The second thing is that this is also labeling Palestinian workers who work in these Jewish communities - like in Barkan.
"The EU requires every product to precisely indicate its origins. So it's not that we label one product and not the other one. The question is what the origin is. This is what the European Court of Justice has required - that you need to indicate that it's coming from an Israeli settlement."
"All the products have access to the European market. The labeling doesn't preclude the product being sold in the market there. They are sold, they have access and we intend to continue this."
"The marketability on the European market is a different issue. I have to say that in the last few years we've seen no diminishment of exports from Israel to the European market. On the contrary, products from Israel including the settlements continue to be sold in Europe."
So how do you answer those who say - it could be that on paper or in terms of legal issues, that's correct - but on a deeper level, it increases anti-Semitism.
"I don't think this is an issue related to anti-Semitism at all. I think we have to be very clear that anti-Semitism is an issue that we're very serious about. It's unacceptable, any form of anti-Semitism in Europe or elsewhere. It has to be addressed very very strongly and we're very committed to that."
We've heard claims this week from bereaved families that EU money is going to terrorists. They weren't saying that you're paying the terrorists but the money that goes to the PA eventually helps the terrorists, for example with their legal issues. How do you relate to that claim? Can you monitor the money that you're giving to the PA?
"Absolutely. I think that we're very serious about monitoring the money that goes to the PA. We have a very sophisticated mechanism to make sure that the money that we pay to the PA or to anyone else goes exactly to the purpose for which it was allocated. And the purpose for which we're giving money is for building capacity in the PA, to provide support for individuals who were vetted - for salaries and pensions - but only for vetted people."
Was money ever blocked? We saw that America stopped money when they saw that the money wasn't going to the right places.
"We're doing this vetting upstream. This is why we know for sure. The European Parliament is very conscious. They monitor the work of the EU. We have auditors, an auditing system. We have a mechanism to make sure the money goes to the right place."
You also invest money and resources in helping Israel, helping Israelis.
"We invest quite a bit. It's, of course, a win-win relationship because we're doing our things in trade, in innovation, in building capacity, sharing experiences."
"We also have a number of programs that are open to Israeli ministries and municipalities in which we work together on the environment, on social issues. And we also work together with municipalities that are having problems, facing challenges, for example, the municipality of Elad the municipality of Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh."
A few words about how much you're fighting anti-Semitism. We know that the EU is really strong against anti-Semitism around the world.
"Yes, we're very strong because it's a problem in our society. It's not the Jewish problem, it's a problem of the society where it happens. We've seen episodes recently in Europe and elsewhere that indicate the problem is rising and we need to take action. We need to take action collectively and it has to be a very complex action. It's about education, it's about preventing anti-Semitism on social media and it's about protecting Jewish communities in Europe. It's about working together to make a change."