Officials: EU ignores reality by considering Modi'in outside Israel proper

Click photo to download. Caption: Modi'in. Credit: Otto Magnus.

( The European Union (EU) on Aug. 14 included portions of the Israeli municipality of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut on a list of “settlements” that are not part of Israel proper, meaning products exported from there to EU countries will not be eligible for import tax breaks.

While the other Israeli areas on the EU’s list—the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and east Jerusalem—are accustomed to this designation, Modi’in found itself on the list for the first time. A small part of the city, which is halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, includes three zip codes that are beyond the 1967 Green Line and therefore must pay customs duties on exports, according to the EU.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the EU “ignores reality when it extends the domain of conflict to places and issues that do not belong there.” Mayor of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut Haim Bibas called Modiin “an integral part of the State of Israel” and said the EU’s decision “does not reflect the reality on the ground.”

The EU stressed Aug. 15 that Modi’in “is not included in its entirety in this list.”

“Since 2004, an arrangement between the EU and Israel has been in place which clarifies, by means of zip codes, those localities that cannot benefit from customs exemptions ... In order to ensure full implementation of this arrangement and to create greater transparency and legal certainty for EU importers, the European Commission published, in August 2012, a notice for EU importers with an updated list of these zip codes,” the EU explained.

In response, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official told Israel Hayom that the EU’s statement “is a collection of technocratic formulations and bland word play … The Europeans should just come out and say loudly and clearly that Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut is not a settlement, plain and simple.”

Posted on August 15, 2012 .