Yuli Edelstein
Yuli EdelsteinEsti Dazyobov, TPS

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) on Wednesday sent a letter to European Parliament President David Sassoli regarding the European Court Of Justice's recent ruling regarding labeling goods from Judea and Samaria.

"I am gravely concerned that the court's decision could undermine the political and economic ties between Israel and the European Union and have far-reaching, negative ramifications for the prospects of peace between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East," Edelstein said in his letter."

Edelstein also noted that "although the aforementioned court decision is couched as an impartial effort to rule narrowly on a legal case and ensure that consumers understand the provenance of their food, it in fact applies a double standard to Israel and the disputed territories under its control."

"Out of dozens of such areas around the world, I believe only Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights are subject to such labeling regulations," he emphasized, adding that "the court chose to overlook the deep, historic connection between the Jewish people and the entire land of Israel."

The court also "ignored the fact that Judea and Samaria are not 'occupied' by Israel as they were never part of another country; they are under legitimate Israeli control by virtue of the Balfour Declaration, San Remo Resolution, and Article 80 Section 12 of the UN Charter. And it disregarded the implausibility of handing over the Golan Heights—to which the democratically elected Knesset extended civil rule nearly 40 years ago, a step subsequently recognized by the United States—to a mass murderer whose country harbors some of Israel's most bitter foes."

Pointing out the racism inherent in the decision, Edelstein noted that "the court prescribed differential treatment for Arabs and Jews based on ethnicity by mandating that food labels not indicate merely 'West Bank' or 'Golan Heights' but specifically that the foods come from a Jewish settlement—lest consumers mistake these goods for Arab ones."

"By imposing this requirement, the court prejudges the outcome of Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, in contradiction to the longstanding position of the European Union—and the international community as a whole—that bilateral steps and talks are the only way to resolve this conflict."

The court also accused "only Israel of alleged violations of said law," while at the same time "ignoring the conduct of its enemies" - including rocket fire on Israeli civilians, which began the morning the ruling was issued.

"The selective information on which the court's ruling is based will inevitably result in a boycott of goods—first those from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights and then those from Israel as a whole—by such consumers," Edelstein said. "In doing so, the court has knowingly adopted the arguments long propounded by the BDS movement, whose extremist agenda aims to destroy the economy of Israel as a whole in order to force it to capitulate to the Palestinians. This, despite repeated and consistent denunciations of BDS by officials of the European Union, who I know recognize that boycotts only encourage extremists and destroy the foundations of any future peace."

"This disgraceful ruling by the European Court of Justice is one with political motivations, one that is likely to result directly in many problems for Israel’s economic cooperation with member states of the European Union."

Edelstein ended his letter by turning personally to Sassoli, requesting that "in light of your distinguished position and your warm ties with the State of Israel, I ask that you take steps to ensure that the European Parliament and the sovereign parliaments make known their unqualified opposition to this unfortunate ruling."