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Palestinians Welcome EU Court Ruling on Labeling Israeli Settlements’ Products

Palestinians Welcome EU Court Ruling on Labeling Israeli Settlements’ Products

Wednesday, 13 November, 2019 - 11:30
A worker carries boxes containing wine bottles for export at Shiloh Wineries, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah (File Photo: Reuters)

Palestinians welcomed the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the labeling of Israeli settlement products.

Secretary-General of Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, called upon all European countries “to implement what is a legal and political obligation.”

He asserted that the demand is not only for the correct labeling reflecting the certificate of origin of products coming from illegal colonial-settlements, but for the banning of those products from international markets.

In 2016, France’s Ministry of Economy said products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights must carry labels making their precise origin clear, according to Agence-France Presse (AFP).

The ruling comes after France's top tribunal asked for clarification of rules on labeling goods from the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, which the international community considers occupied Palestinian land, as well as the Golan Heights, which Israel took from Syria in 1967.

“Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied, where those foodstuffs come from an Israeli settlement within that territory, by the indication of that provenance,” the ECJ in a statement announcing its decision.

Erekat indicated that the ruling should serve as a reminder for the international community on the necessity to hold Israel accountable for its systematic violations of international humanitarian law and UN resolutions.

The court’s guidelines were challenged by the Organisation Juive Europeenne (European Jewish Organization) and Psagot, a company that runs vineyards in occupied territories.

Psagot lawyer, Francois-Henri Briard, condemned the ruling, saying it catered to “political prejudices”.

"If such labeling is applied to Israeli products, surely it will also need to be applied to scores of other countries around the world who could be argued to be in violation of international law," he said in a statement.

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyadh Malki welcomed the ruling, saying it is an important first step for the EU and an affirmation of the EU's obligation to respect and ensure respect of international law.

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