Europe

Europe gives Israel a month to clarify the origin of livestock exports to Europe

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The European Union has given Israel a one-month notice to clarify the place of origin of livestock products intended for exportation to the EU.

Products without the proper documentation on their place of origin and manufacture will be banned from entering into EU member states, in line with the EU decision to boycott products from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported on Tuesday that the EU has reiterated its request for Israel to institute a sufficiently effective mechanism that differentiates the produce that originates in the occupied areas beyond the 1967 Green Line.

Since the beginning of 2014, the EU has rejected trade dealings with factories and farms located in Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The EU boycott of settlement products is based on a 2004 ruling by the International Criminal Court at The Hague that Israeli settlements established on West Bank territory are illegal and a violation of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its civilian population to the territory it occupies.

In mid August, Israeli ministries and state institutions expressed concern about a decline in Israeli exports to EU countries after the European Commission ratified a decision banning the exportation of dairy products produced in Israel’s settlements in the West Bank. Prior to that decision, the EU only required Israel to label dairy products that came from settlements, but without imposing any ban on their importation by EU countries.

Media reports stated on 15 August that 80 Israeli factories specialised in producing milk and dairy products are facing the threat of closure as a result of the EU ban, which is expected to cost those factories $30 million in losses, according to Anadolu.

Campaigns calling for the boycott of Israeli settlements and their products have gained momentum after the latest Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and sparked a wave of international condemnation and protests across Europe.

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid had stated earlier this year that the boycott has already cost Israel around NIS 20 billion in losses (about $5.6 billion), with the Israeli market losing immediately around 9,800 jobs.

Israel’s trade deficit in goods for the first half of 2014 totalled NIS 6.6 billion (about $1.85 billion), according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

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