New labelling guidelines for Israeli settlement products welcomed

By agency reporter
November 17, 2015

Christian Aid has welcomed new guidelines that will require the true provenance of goods and produce exported from Israeli settlements on the West Bank for sale in the EU to be clearly labelled. Until now, such exports have generally been labelled “Made in Israel.”

It said the guidelines, issued by the European Commission at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, was a positive move in countering Israel’s illegal settlement policy.

William Bell, Christian Aid’s Senior Advocacy advisor for the Middle East, said: “This is an important step towards addressing the illegal status of Israeli settlements and acknowledging the negative impact they have on the local Palestinian population.

“We hope that ensuring settlement exports to the EU are clearly labelled as such signals a more determined effort to implement policy that excludes settlements and their exports from any EU-Israel cooperation or bilateral agreements.

“Ensuring that settlement products are accurately labelled allows consumers to make an informed choice. Of course, consumer choice alone will not be enough to tackle the problem and ultimately we would like a complete ban on settlement exports to the EU.

“That is not the same as a ban on trade with Israel, and suggestions that these new guidelines are the start of a slippery slope towards that end are simply untrue.

“Christian Aid believes, along with most in the international community, including the EU, that the settlements are illegal under international law, a major cause of poverty amongst Palestinians and an obstacle to peace.

“The number of settlers on the West Bank has steadily risen over the years to nearly half a million and many settlements have become their own economic centres, producing goods that have worked their way into markets around the world.

“At the same time, they have taken away large swathes of land from Palestinians, as well as resources that could be used for economic development.  Trade with the settlements helps perpetuate their presence by making them economically profitable.”

* Christian Aid


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