Tuesday

21st Feb 2017

Israel unhappy after EU blacklists 1980s town

Israel has complained about the EU's inclusion of parts of the town of Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut on a blacklist of "settlements."

The European Commission on 3 August added three postal codes in the town to a register of over 500 codes relating to "Israeli settlements located within the territories brought under Israeli administration since June 1967."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut - Israeli "reality" versus UN law (Photo: ChristianBier)

The designation refers to Palestinian land annexed after the so-called Six-Day War in a move considered by EU countries to violate binding UN resolutions.

Products originating from annexed land cannot benefit from preferential tariffs agreed under a 12-year-old EU-Israel trade deal.

The commission for the first time also published the list online, saying "the way [the rules] are imple­mented in the EU should be streamlined in the light of experience."

The list was previously available to EU customs authorities who are supposed to use it to cross-check importers' certificates of origin. But NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch and the Council for European Palestinian Relations, say the system does not work.

Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut is a town of around 80,000 people dating back to the 1980s.

It is in a strip of land between 1km and 3kms wide which was originally designated as a buffer zone between Israeli-controlled territory and Palestinian territory after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

The Israeli foreign ministry in a statement published on its website on Tuesday (14 August) said the EU broke off talks on the blacklist "ex abrupto" and that it has lodged "an official protest" in Brussels.

It added: "For anyone who deals in reality, there is not the slightest doubt that the Modi'in, Maccabim and Re'ut localities are an integral part of Israel and their future is not in question."

It also said that naming the town on a public EU document risks creating a new political flashpoint: "It extends the domain of conflict to places and issues that do not belong there."

For its part, the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper quoted two trade lawyers, Gill Nadal and Omer Wagner, who said the move "constitutes a deviation and breach of contract" of the EU trade agreement.

The right-leaning Ynetnews cited Israel's minister of diaspora affairs, Yuli Edelstein, as saying the EU is "trying to gnaw away at Israel's sovereignty."

The publication of the EU list has also raised fears EU consumers will use it to privately boycott goods.

The development comes after EU foreign ministers in May said they will "fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products."

It also comes after the Union last month upgraded trade and diplomatic relations with Israel.

The upgrade had been put on hold for almost three years after Israel's attack on Gaza in 2009, which killed around 1,400 Palestinians, over 300 of whom were children.

EU to boost Israel trade relations despite settlements row

The EU is today to confirm moves to strengthen economic ties with Israel, facing off criticism that trade conditions should be frozen due to the diplomatic impasse over Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

EU takes aim at Israeli settler products

EU foreign ministers have "warned" Israel they will take a tougher approach to exports originating from illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

Opinion

Why EU should reject new Israeli trade pact

By rejecting the so-called ACAA agreement, MEPs could begin to play a mature and constructive role in EU foreign policy in the Arab Spring region.

Opinion

EU decision adds Middle East confusion not clarity

The EU's recent decision to include parts of Modi’in Maccabim-Re’ut on a trading blacklist was taken without real understanding of the region and may extend the boundaries of the Middle East conflict, writes the city's mayor, Haim Bibas

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  2. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  3. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  4. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  5. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  6. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms
  7. EU commission denies Juncker resignation rumour
  8. US "strongly committed" to cooperation with EU, says vice-president

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty

Latest News

  1. Dieselgate: EU disappointed with VW's treatment of customers
  2. French police raid Le Pen's party office
  3. The Armenia-Azerbaijan war: A refugee's story
  4. Greece and creditors break bailout deadlock
  5. Internal EU report exposes Libya turmoil
  6. EU commissioner condemns 'delay' in post-Dieselgate reform
  7. Sweden fights back as foreign leaders make up bad news
  8. Nordstream 2: Alternative pipeline facts