REPORT: In Paris, Netanyahu declined meeting Belgian FM over settlement labeling issue


Israel’s Foreign Ministry says PM Netanyahu did not cancel meeting, since it was never scheduled due to timing issues.

By i24news


Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders has canceled a planned visit to Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to meet him over Belgium’s support of labeling settlements goods, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported Tuesday evening.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders arrives at the EU Headquarters in Brussels on November 16, 2015 – Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response to the report that Netanyahu did not cancel the meeting with Reynders, because the meeting was never set due to schedule issues.

“Israel will continue to have wide ranging relations with EU states, while reassessing the EUs institution’s role in the peace process with Palestinians,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Reynders was due to travel from 5 to 8 December to Israel and the Palestinian territories but “following the decision by the Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Netanyahu to suspend contacts with the European Union on the Middle East peace process, and considering the impact of this decision on the program of the visit of Didier Reynders, the latter confirmed this Tuesday morning to the Ambassador of Israel in Belgium his decision to postpone his visit to a later date.”

“He also regrets having to postpone his contacts with his Palestinian interlocutors,” a statement on the ministry’s website read.

On November 11, the EU introduced a measure to label settlement produce imported to Europe as such rather than “Made in Israel”.

The same day, Israel said it was suspending various scheduled EU meetings in response to the labeling move, which it harshly condemned.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini discussed the goods labelling issue with Netanyahu on Monday on the sidelines of the UN summit in Paris aimed at tackling climate change.

Netanyahu on Sunday instructed the Foreign Ministry to reassess the European Union’s involvement in the peace process with Palestinians, the Israeli news siteYnet News reported.

The prime minister, “ordered suspension of diplomatic contacts with the institutions of the European Union and its representatives on this issue,” the foreign ministry said in a Hebrew-language statement.

Until the Foreign Ministry reaches an official decision on the matter, all diplomatic ties with EU institutions concerning the conflict will be suspended.

In April, France and 15 other European Union countries urged the bloc to clearly label products sold in member countries that originated in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, annexed east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, all obtained by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

After the labeling measure, the Foreign Ministry immediately summoned the EU’s ambassador for a reprimand and issued a statement condemning the directive, saying that the EU was applying a double-standard by singling Israel out for legislation while ignoring the other 200 territorial conflicts in the world.

The European Commission has been working for months on implementing a plan first mooted in 2012. The instructions have been issued to food and other industries, including potentially specifying the wording to be used on labels.

Some members of the 28-member EU are extremely frustrated at the lack of a peace process, as well as with Israel’s settlement expansion.

Israel calls any such move a boycott, while the EU insists it is merely providing customers with information.

The EU insisted that a decision to label products from Israeli settlements was taken for legal reasons relating to the origins of goods and was not a political stance.


View original i24news publication at: