The EU demands Israel give in to the demands of the PA and Turkey so that EU’s interests will be served. They have no respect for our interests or sovereignty. Ted Belman
By HERB KEINON, STEVE LINDE, JPOST
If products grown or manufactured in settlements are not properly labeled as such, it could spark moves in some European countries to boycott all Israeli goods, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“You should take it [the settlement labeling issue] seriously,” said Linkevicius, whose country will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union in July.
“I know the mood in some countries is that if you don’t change the market practice, you could lead to a boycott of all [Israeli] goods. You should take this into account,” he said.
Linkevicius, who arrived Sunday for a four-day visit, said the EU fully backed US Secretary of State John Kerry’s current efforts to get Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table.
Kerry, who is scheduled to arrive for a two-day visit on Thursday, has not asked anything in particular from the EU in moving his initiative forward, the foreign minister said.
Speaking to the Post just prior to meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Linkevicius denied reports that Kerry had asked the EU to postpone moving forward on the settlement labeling issue to provide him with “more space” in efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table.
Asked whether Kerry requested that the EU hold up on this issue, Linkevicius said “it was not discussed in the EU.” He said the issue may come up at a meeting of EU foreign ministers this weekend.
“You know the EU position on settlements,” said Linkevicius.
“We do not think they are legal, we do not think they are helpful.”
Linkevicius, whose country is considered among the more supportive countries of Israel inside the EU, said bluntly that the advancement of the EU-Israel dialogue depends directly on progress in the Middle East diplomatic process.
While there are “positive steps” in the EU-Israel relationship, such as the recent Open Skies aviation agreement, “that is not enough,” he said.
Linkevicius said that the situation in Syria was one of the focuses of his talks here.
The international community’s steps toward Syria should be “responsible, informed, and based on reliable information, which is why we are consulting in the region with those who have knowledge and insight,” he said. “For me it was informative and interesting to discuss those issues with your officials.”
Linkevicius, a former Lithuanian defense minister who has also served as his country’s envoy to NATO, said concern about the situation in Syria is the reason why NATO allies and EU countries want to see a Turkish-Israeli reconciliation.
“This relationship was strategically important for your country and the region,” he said, adding that both Jerusalem and Ankara should “apply more efforts” to bring about a reconciliation. “All of NATO would like to have a real improvement …read more