Israeli officials are likely to try to sabotage a European Union draft resolution that would emphasize the distinction between Israel and the West Bank territory it controls, the left-wing Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported Friday, citing senior Israeli officials and EU diplomats. Israeli officials are concerned the resolution could set the stage for sanctions against Israeli businesses operating out of West Bank settlements, sources said.
The news comes as tensions have risen between Israel and the EU over a decision in November to start labeling Israeli products that originate in settlements in the West Bank, territory Israel has controversially occupied since the 1967 war. Amid the strained relations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused EU leaders Thursday of holding his country to a double standard after Sweden called for an investigation into the deaths of Palestinians who have been killed by the Israeli military during a spike in violence in recent months.
"There is a natural tendency in the EU establishment to single out Israel and treat it in ways that other countries are not being dealt with, and especially other democracies," Netanyahu told journalists Thursday, Reuters reported. "People are defending themselves against assailants wielding knives who are about to stab them to death, and they shoot the people — and that's extrajudicial killings?"
— Luke Baker (@LukeReuters) January 15, 2016
The draft resolution by the EU has not yet been made public but was expected to be published Monday, according to European and Israeli diplomats. The resolution reportedly calls for an explicit distinction to be made between Israel and “all territories occupied by Israel in 1967,” new efforts to save the two-state solution and an international support group to promote peace in the region, among other measures. It was unclear how officials might try to block the resolution.
Violence has risen in recent months due to anger at expanding Jewish settlements and a failed peace process. Stabbings have become frequent; young Palestinians have lunged at Israelis with knives, and more than 100 Palestinians have been killed. Many were in the process of carrying out attacks or protesting in the West Bank.
A movement has risen in recent years calling for a boycott of Israeli companies operating out of the West Bank. The territory is home to 2.5 million Palestinians and part of an envisioned Palestinian state.