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Israeli leaders oblivious to Europe's message on boycott

The Israeli leadership risks boycotts beyond West Bank products with its failure to fully appreciate the extent to which the EU distrusts Israel's stated desire for a peace settlement.
Foreign and Palestinian activists hold Palestinian flags as they march through a supermarket in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit October 24, 2012. Some 50 activists marched through the supermarket and tried to block a road in the settlement on Wednesday during a protest against Jewish settlements and in a call to boycott settlement products. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (WEST BANK - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST FOOD TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR39IM8
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Earlier this week, a senior Israeli politician returned from a visit to Germany disturbed by what he had encountered there. What concerned him was the extent of the aversion that his hosts displayed whenever the topic of the settlements came up. The man, whose resume includes quite a few visits to European capitals over the past few years, was amazed to discover that unlike on his previous visits, the people he met with, including parliamentarians and senior foreign ministry officials, had zero tolerance for anything to do with the settlements. “I felt like they no longer paid attention at all, when we talked about the settlements. Until recently we still had someone to talk to. They tried to understand our side, and they were very tolerant, but this time I felt like they were trying to tell me, ‘We’re fed up with you. We’ve lost our patience. We don’t believe that you want a diplomatic process.’ And that was the Germans, who are considered to be our closest friends in Europe.”

This description explains statements by sources in the European Union, published Tuesday, Dec. 3, asserting that half the EU member states support labeling products manufactured in the settlements. They want to do this as a result of the sorry state of the negotiations with the Palestinians and on the eve of yet another visit to the region by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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