Pressure on Israel from the European Union continued on Thursday as the foreign ministers of 16 of the EU’s 28 member states joined in a demand for the labeling of Israeli goods produced over the Green Line and sold on the continent.
The ministers sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini asking her to move forward with the labeling proposal, Haaretz, which obtained a copy, reported on Thursday.
The letter was signed by France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Malta, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Germany was the only one of the five major EU members not to sign.
“We would like to draw your attention to the letter dated 13th April 2013 sent to your predecessor on EU-wide guidelines on the labeling of settlement produce/products,” reads the letter. “…We remain of the view that this is an important step in the full implementation of EU long-standing policy, in relation to the preservation of the two-state solution.”
The diplomats sought to justify the labeling on the grounds of protecting consumers from bring “misled by false information.”
“European consumers must indeed have confidence in knowing the origin of goods they are purchasing,” the ministers wrote. “Green Line Israel and Palestinian producers will benefit from this.”
EU countries had said before the Israeli elections in March that they would wait to see what the new government would look like before resuming efforts to reach a two-state solution. With Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s re-election and the likely installation of a narrow rightist government, the EU now wants to forge ahead.