EU criticizes Israel; builds on anti-settlement policy

The European Union has stressed that all its deals with Israel must "unequivocally and explicitly" show that they cannot apply to occupied territories, a move that builds on a November decision to label Israeli products made in the West Bank.

Monday's meeting of 28 EU foreign ministers stressed that it "does not constitute a boycott of Israel which the EU strongly opposes." However, the Israeli government considers the settlement product measure unfair and discriminatory.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and began settling both areas shortly afterward. The Palestinians claim both areas as parts of a future state, a position that has global support.

The EU statement called the Israeli settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace.