Israel suspends role in peace process over EU labeling of products
A sign painted on a wall in Bethlehem calling for a boycott of Israeli goods. (AFP/Thomas Coex)
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Israel has responded on Sunday to an EU move to label goods from illegal settlements by moving to suspend its role in the Palestine-Israel peace process.
The Times of Israel quoted a Hebrew-language Foreign Ministry statement saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered a suspension of diplomatic contact with the EU with regards to the peace process. It did not however extend to individual member countries of the EU.
Israel had previously threatened such a move in response to EU guidelines requiring the labeling of goods produced in settlements in the occupied West Bank, as opposed to in Israel itself.
After the guidelines were approved by the EU on Nov. 11, Israel's Foreign Ministry called them "discriminatory”.
Previously, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in an interview with the Times of Israel in September that labeling settlement goods would be a "red line" for Israel.
She warned that the EU could be excluded from the peace process and that economic ties could also be downgraded. She added that Israel would try to convince major European countries to ignore the guidelines.
“We see it as a boycott of Israel for all intents and purposes. We view it as a slippery slope. It’s simply a sweeping disqualification of Israel," she said.
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