Following Prime Minister Netanyau’s decision to interrupt contacts with Europe, after EU’s decision over green-line products’ labeling, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders decided to cancel his visit to Israel.
Reynders reported on Tuesday morning his decision to postpone his visit -scheduled from December 5 to 8- to a later date. Netanyau’s office stated that the cancellation was due to scheduling, though Israeli Channel 10 reported that the decision was due to Belgium’s central role in EU’s decision to label goods produced over the Green Line.
Netanyau’s announced early this week that all contacts with EU will be suspended, after the green-line products’ labeling decision. However the Israeli Prime Minister’s decision comes after a series of quarrels between Israel and EU.
Firstly, because of disagreements on funding projects in the West Bank, Israel almost abandoned the European Horizon 2020 program. Secondly Israel didn’t appreciate France’s proposal for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to be examined by the United Nations Security Council. Thirdly Israel understood EU’s green-line products’ guidelines as an “embargo” on Israeli goods.
For a long time Europe has been Israel’s first export partner, and the two countries have strong diplomatic and economic ties. But as a result of this turn of events Israel is “moving to the East”, trying to built new economic collaborations with Eastern countries. “We are very deeply part of the West in many, many ways, but we look to the East”, stated Netanyau, adding that “We appreciate Europe, but we admire Asia”,
As a matter of fact, Israel engaged with trade agreements with Eastern countries, like Japan, China and India, so that in the last years Asia became the second-biggest export partner of Israel, after Europe. Commenting on Chinese companies, former Economy Minister Neftali Bennett noted back in 2013, that “They never asked us about Arabs, or the Palestinians, or the occupation, or anything else”, stressing that “The only thing that interests them is Israeli high-tech and Israeli innovation”.
Isabella MILAN ALBERTIN