EU states urge accurate labeling of illegal israeli settlement products
More than a dozen European governments have called for the accurate labeling of goods produced at the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank in a bid to allow potential customers in Europe to know of the illegal origins of the commodities.
On Thursday, foreign ministers from 16 member states of the 28-member European Union sent a letter to the politico-economic bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, asking her to expedite the process of accurately labeling Israeli settlement goods that are sold in grocery chains across the region.
“We would like to draw your attention to the letter dated April 13, 2013, and sent to your predecessor (Catherine Ashton) on EU wide guidelines on the labeling of settlement produce/products,” the letter read.
“[The] continued expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967, threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement,” the letter read.
The foreign ministers argued that such labeling of goods produced in the occupied West Bank is necessary to prevent consumers from being “misled by false information.”
“European consumers must indeed have confidence in knowing the origin of goods they are purchasing,” the ministers wrote in the letter.
Workers construct new settler units in the illegal Israeli settlement of Shilo in the occupied West Bank. (File photo)
More than half a million Israelis live in more than 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967.
Settlers, mostly armed, regularly attack Palestinian villages and farms and set fire to their mosques, olive groves and other properties in the West Bank in so-called “price tag” attacks, which are acts of vandalism and violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property as well as Islamic holy sites.
The Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the United Nations and most countries because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.