Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Sunday, urging him to prevent efforts within the European Union to label all products manufactured in Judea and Samaria as such. Hotovely explained the move would harm both Israelis and Palestinians alike.
The State of Israel stands against a tough onslaught of boycotts coming from Europe,” The Times of Israel quoted Hotovely saying, adding that Israel anticipated “Germany would lead the struggle against the phenomenon of labeling products from Judea and Samaria.
“The boycott of products hurts the quality of life in Judea and Samaria both for the Palestinian side and for the Israeli side,” Hotovely said.
The most recent initiative to label Judea and Samaria goods came from 16 of the 28 member states of the European Union, in a letter signed by the foreign ministers of each state and addressed to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. The letter requested that such goods be labeled as having come from the West Bank in all chain stores in the EU. Germany was not among the signatories.
At the time, then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman condemned the suggestion, likening the labels to the Holocaust-era “yellow star”.
Steinmeier came to Israel for meetings marking 50 years of ties between Israel and Germany. The agenda included talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, as well as meetings in Ramallah to try to revive peace talks. He also met with opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who thanked him for “emphasizing to the Palestinians and to the countries of Europe that the only way to arrive at a secure peace is direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”
In their meeting Sunday morning, Hotovely also thanked Steinmeier for Germany’s support at FIFA against the Palestinian bid to ban Israel from international competition, saying it was vital in “preventing the Palestinian provocation.” She also praised Berlin’s efforts in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state and for standing up against anti-Semitism.