The Greek government has told Israel it will disregard European Union guidelines advising member states to re-label any good manufactured in communities past the 1949 Armistice Line, also known as the “Green Line.”
The guidelines, published earlier this month, advise that anything produced in Judea and Samaria cannot be labeled “Made in Israel.”
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Athens would oppose the guidelines one day after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Jerusalem, according to a report by The Times of Israel. There was no coverage of the government’s decision in any Greek media.
Hungary declared its intention to defy the EU guidelines earlier this month, almost as soon as the directive was issued.
But since 2003, there had already been a numerical code placed on Israeli imports by the EU, in order to differentiate between products made anywhere beyond the “Green Line” and those produced within “pre-1967″ Israel, according to The Guardian British newspaper.
In response to the EU’s labeling, Netanyahu announced Sunday at the opening of the weekly government cabinet meeting that Israel would end cooperation with the EU’s role in peacemaking with the Palestinian Authority.
Earlier in the month, Israel’s Ambassador to the EU, David Walzer explained, “This for us in Israel feels like we have been singled out for quasi-sanctions using economic tools for punishment.” The EU has not applied the same guidelines to products manufactured in territories “occupied” by several other nations, including Morocco.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry indicated meanwhile that although individual relations with various European nations would continue, there would be no dialogue with the EU “until the reassessment is completed.”
Nevertheless, a European Union spokesperson insisted the entity would “continue to work on the Middle East peace process” independently.
Past activities by the EU have included generous funding and unauthorized construction of illegal homes and other structures for Arab squatters in Area C territory that is supposed to be under Israel’s complete control, in accordance with the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords.
Given that history, the mammoth rate of Arab immigration to most European member states in the EU, and the overwhelmingly negative voting history of the entity when issues involving Israel are raised at forums such as the United Nations, one might question whether independent work by the EU is really possible.
Hana Levi Julian