Friday

20th May 2022

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."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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

Podcast

Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow

Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war has threatened to be a public relations disaster for hard-right gatherings like the Conservative Political Action Conference — now meeting in Budapest and featuring Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who remains highly-cordial with the Kremlin.

Opinion

Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?

Valdimir Putin's equivalent to Nato — the Collective Security Treaty Organization of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Belarus — is convening in Moscow next week to give cover that Russia is not alone in its war against Ukraine.

News in Brief

  1. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts
  2. Macron seeks 'quick' EU answer on Moldova application
  3. German chancellor to tour Western Balkans
  4. UN: more than 8,000 civilians killed or injured in Ukraine
  5. EU agrees new minimum gas storage target
  6. EU justice agency to have more roles on war crimes
  7. More than 50,000 Ukrainians refused entry into EU in 2021
  8. Germany open to EU treaty change 'if required'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  2. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  3. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  4. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  5. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms
  6. EU states warn of looming food-price crisis
  7. Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow
  8. Nordic Bridges unveil latest highlights of Spring programme

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us