Israel suspends EU role in Palestinian peace process

Israel said Sunday it was suspending contacts with European Union bodies involved in peace efforts with the Palestinians after the bloc started requiring the labeling of exports from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the foreign minister, ordered the 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 ministry added that contacts with individual EU countries – it named Germany, France and Britain – would not be affected.


A ministry official said Israel would cease assisting EU sponsored projects intended for the Palestinians but no specific instances or bodies were named.


The EU published new guidelines on Nov. 11 for labeling products made in Israeli settlements, a move Brussels said was technical but which Israel branded “discriminatory” and damaging to peace efforts with the Palestinians.


Drawn up over three years by the European Commission, the guidelines mean Israeli producers must explicitly label farm goods and other products that come from settlements built on land occupied by Israel if they are sold in the European Union.


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