News / Middle East

Belgium Urges Labeling Israeli Settlements’ Products

Employees pack boxes of SodaStream appliances at its factory in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim Jan. 28, 2014.
Employees pack boxes of SodaStream appliances at its factory in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim Jan. 28, 2014.
Reuters

Belgium advised retailers on Tuesday to clearly label the origin of products made in Israeli settlements that are in occupied territories where Palestinians seek statehood.

The non-binding recommendation has nothing to do with escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, the Belgian Economics Ministry said, noting that Britain and Denmark already had similar labeling in place.

“It's a non-binding advice to state on labels that products originating from occupied territories come from there,” a ministry spokeswoman said. “We don't see this as a sanction against Israel, but EU rules stipulate that consumers have to be informed of the origins of products.”

The ministry planned to send a letter to retail federations Tuesday recommending the use of such labels. Belgian retail federation Comeos and the Israeli Embassy in Brussels said they would not comment before the letter was issued.

Israel has been critical of any move to label produce from Jewish settlements clearly or distinguish them from goods produced by Palestinians, arguing that the distinction is part of a larger effort to impose a Palestinian state on Israel.

The labels Belgium has in mind would mainly apply to fruit and vegetables grown in Jewish settlements in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley. But they could include products such as sparkling water made by SodaStream and cosmetics by Ahava, which both have West Bank production facilities.

Palestinians have limited self-rule in areas of the West Bank not taken up by Israeli settlements.

Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as their capital, but the latest round of U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in April. Palestinians fear the settlements, which the European Union views as illegal and an obstacle to peace, will deny them a viable country.

Israel took the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in a 1967 war. It later annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally. More than 500,000 Jews now live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem alongside some 3 million Palestinians. Israel withdrew from the tiny Gaza Strip in 2005. 

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ds
July 30, 2014 9:55 AM
Then I will not be buying anything from racist, anti-Jewish Belgium, or traveling there anymore. Hopefully, others will do the same.

In Response

by: Joe from: USA
July 31, 2014 11:09 AM
I have no doubt that alot of Europeans are extremely anti-semitic and would like the Jewish race to disappear from the face of the earth. I wonder if they will also stop using all the things invented by "God's chosen people". Pals already have home countries that are called Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, etc. Arafat once stated that the pals are an invented people.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid