State Dep’t Defends European Move Targeting Israeli Settlements

The Obama administration on Tuesday came close to backing a new and harder line adopted by the European Union towards Israeli settlements in disputed areas, siding with the E.U.’s contention that labeling products originating from those areas do not amount to a boycott.


“We do not view the labeling of products as being from the settlements a boycott of Israel,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby.


E.U. foreign ministers meeting on Monday reinforced an earlier decision directin


g that products made or grown in disputed territories and destined for European markets no longer be labeled, “Made in Israel.”


In a resolution, they also agreed to ensure that all future agreements between the E.U. and Israel “unequivocally and explicitly” state that they do not apply to “territories occupied by Israel in 1967.”


“This does not constitute a boycott of Israel which the E.U. strongly opposes,” the resolution added.


It also called on Israel to “end all settlement activity,” complaining that such activity in eastern parts of Jerusalem “seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both states.”


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