Israel suspends contact with EU bodies involved in Palestine peace efforts

The EU says land occupied by Israel since 1967 is not part of its internationally recognised borders so cannot be labelled "Made in Israel".

Samuel Osborne
Sunday 29 November 2015 21:28
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A Palestinian protester climbs Israel's controversial separation barrier during clashes with Israeli security forces following a demonstration against Israeli settlements and its separation wall, in the West Bank village of Nilin near the Jewish settlement of Hashmonaim (background), on 14 June, 2013
A Palestinian protester climbs Israel's controversial separation barrier during clashes with Israeli security forces following a demonstration against Israeli settlements and its separation wall, in the West Bank village of Nilin near the Jewish settlement of Hashmonaim (background), on 14 June, 2013

Israel has suspended contact with European Union bodies involved in the peace efforts with the Palestinians after the bloc began to require exports from Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be labelled.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the foreign ministry to carry out "a reassessment of the involvement of EU bodies in everything that is connected to the diplomatic process with the Palestinians", a ministry statement said.

"Until completion of the reassessment, the Prime Minister has ordered a suspension of diplomatic contacts with the EU and its representatives in this matter."

The EU published new guidelines requiring Israeli producers to label farm goods and other products which come from settlements built on land occupied by Israel.

It says the land occupied by Israel since 1967 is not part of its internationally recognised borders, so cannot be labelled "Made in Israel".

The development of settlements on land occupied by Israel has been one of the major obstacles in peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

Under Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has continued expanding its settlements in occupied territories, despite the international community objecting they are illegal.

Britain, Belgium and Denmark already attach labels to Israeli goods, differentiating between those from Israel and those, particularly fruit and vegetables, which come from the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank.

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