Israel strongly reacts to EU decision of labelling Israeli settlements goods

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JERUSALEM: Israel said on Sunday it was suspending contacts with European Union EU bodies involved in peace efforts with the Palestinians after the bloc started requiring the labelling of exports from Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the foreign ministry to carry out "a reassessment of the involvement of EU bodies in everything that is connected to the diplomatic process with the Palestinians", a ministry statement said. "Until completion of the reassessment, the Prime Minister has ordered a suspension of diplomatic contacts with the EU and its representatives in this matter." EU officials played down the significance of the Israeli move, saying it had been threatened in the past and that it was only a suspension which could be lifted soon. The EU published new guidelines on Nov. 11 for labelling products made in Israeli settlements, a move Brussels said was technical but which Israel branded "discriminatory" and damaging to peace efforts with the Palestinians. After the EU announcement, Netanyahu called it "hypocritical and a double standard", saying the EU was not taking similar steps in hundreds of territorial conflicts elsewhere in the world. "The European Union should be ashamed of itself," he said while on an official visit in Washington earlier this month. "We do not accept the fact that Europe is labelling the side being attacked by terrorist acts." Source: Reuters