Letter of EU Foreign Ministers is misguided and sends out the wrong message from Europe.

Brussels, 22nd April, 2015 - In the same week as 21 Ethiopian Christians were beheaded in Libya, just across the water from Europe, and hundreds of refugees drowned in the Mediterranean whilst trying to reach the shores of Europe, EU Foreign Ministers from 16 member states have sent a letter to the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, setting out their own policy priorities in the wider region, namely “labelling Israeli products from the disputed territories.”

The letter clearly illustrates the misguided priorities of EU foreign ministers at a time when the whole Middle East and Northern Africa risks falling into an abyss of war and genocide. Instead of defending universal values and trying to save human lives, EU foreign ministers choose to attack the only stable democracy in the region, namely Israel.

In a letter presented to EU leaders in March 2014, ECI argued that the new EU guidelines to boycott Israeli products from the disputed territories are both counter-productive and in breach of international law. Currently some 10.000 Palestinians are dependent for their livelihood on work in Israeli factories in the disputed territories.

The EU should promote more cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, not punish them when they try to live and work together. The proposed labelling of Israeli goods from the disputed territories is giving in to the growing anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiments in Europe, which want to use all means possible to discredit the Jewish state whilst remaining silent when Palestinians are being brutally murdered by ISIL in refugee camps in Syria. Their priorities illustrate the ultimate goal of these groups - not to help Palestinians but to attack Israel.

The letter from the 16 ministers reveals a deeper EU frustration over the re-election of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his recent remarks on the difficulties of creating a Palestinian state in the current circumstances. According to media sources, the decision to take action against Israel if Netanyahu were re-elected, was made before the elections.

ECI strongly condemns meddling in the democratic electoral process in a sovereign and friendly state whilst at the same time being passive and indifferent to the ongoing slaughter of Christians and other religious minorities in the same region.

At the end of the day, the EU will have to choose between standing on the side of democracy and human rights or indirectly siding with the enemies of the only democratic state in the region.

Responding to the increasing chaos in the Maghreb region and in the Middle East by turning its attention to Israel and recommending labelling of Jewish goods in a punitive way, is not sending out the right message from Europe.