Pressure stepped up on government to ban goods from illegal Israeli settlements

By staff writers
September 15, 2010

Campaigners yesterday stepped up their pressure on the British government to ban goods from illegal Israeli settlements after Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu signalled he will not extend a partial moratorium on settlement construction.

Earlier this year, the Methodist Conference urged Christians to support the boycott of Israeli goods emanating from illegal settlements. In 2009, the World Council of Churches also called for an international boycott of settlement produce and services. Christian leaders in Palestine the “Kairos” document, Palestinian civil society and a growing number of Jewish organisations both inside Israel and worldwide have also supported the call.

The anti-poverty charity, War on Want, is now calling for action by the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague as Israel looks set to end the moratorium on settlement construction on 26 September.

According to reports, Netanyahu has told Tony Blair, special envoy for the Quartet in the Middle East, that Israel will not renew the freeze.

War on Want's senior campaigns officer, Yasmin Khan, said: "Netanyahu has shown he is not interested in halting the settlement expansion programme. The British government remains complicit in Israel’s breaches of international humanitarian law by allowing retailers to import goods from illegal settlements. The government must ban the sale of settlement goods immediately."

The charity’s alert also comes as a British member of the European parliament bids for EU-wide moves to ensure the correct labelling of settlers’ goods and to prevent them benefiting from reduced tariffs under trade agreements.

A written declaration proposed by North West MEP Arlene McCarthy, urging the European Commission to act, has been supported by 27 other members of the parliament.


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