Is the EU Preparing to Drop the Hammer?

road-work-ahead-sign-01Israeli officials are concerned that the collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians may push the EU to apply economic pressure on Israel regarding the West Bank, according to the Wall Street Journal (click via Google News)

David Walzer, the Israeli ambassador to the EU, told the Journal that rumors abound that the EU is preparing to resume efforts to ensure that products produced in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan do not receive the “made in Israel” label because the EU does not consider them part of Israel.

“We’re already hearing about such initiatives, and we understand that it is in the drawer and waiting for someone to pull it out,” he said.

EU officials denied plans to re-open the labeling issue, which were put on hold for the nine months of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. “I hope they understand this can be destructive for the efforts to revive the peace process in the near future,” Walzer told the Journal.

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Meanwhile, the article also noted that economic steps against Israel, even if directed only at Israel’s presence in the West Bank, could strengthen the BDS.

In some places, a “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement has sprung up to pressure Israel on its handling of the territories.

EU leaders say they don’t support that movement. But Israeli officials say the EU will bolster it nonetheless if it presses ahead with initiatives like West Bank labeling.

In an interview with the Jewish Journal unrelated to the Wall Street Journal article, noted Israel advocate and lawyer Alan Dershowitz made a similar statement, referring to mistaken belief by many BDS supporters that the movement is simply trying to change Israel’s West Bank policy.

The vast majority of people who support BDS think that they are supporting a tactical effort simply to put pressure on Israel to end civilian settlements and the occupation of the West Bank. But the leaders of the BDS movement have made it very clear they challenge Israel’s legitimacy to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

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