News / Economy

EU Plans Labeling of Israeli Products Made in Occupied Territories

EU Plans Labeling of Israeli Products Made in Occupied Territoriesi
X
July 30, 2013 1:11 AM
The European Union is pushing ahead with plans to force Israeli companies operating from the West Bank and East Jerusalem to label the origin of their products. It comes as Israeli and Palestinian delegations begin peace talks for the first time since 2010. Henry Ridgwell looks at what impact the EU is having on the negotiations.
Henry Ridgwell
The European Union is pushing ahead with plans to force Israeli companies operating in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to label the origin of their products. It comes as Israeli and Palestinian delegations begin peace talks for the first time since 2010.

Israel’s continued construction of settlements on land captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war has been a major obstacle to a peace deal. Currently products made by Israelis in the occupied territories are sold under the ‘Made in Israel’ label.

The European Union is pushing through rules to ensure products from the occupied territories are labeled as such.

The policy would implement longstanding consumer legislation, Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs, told VOA on the phone from Brussels.

“The main principle of this legislation is that the information must not mislead the consumers. ‘Made in Israel’ as a label is misleading when it comes to settlement products. Currently the internal consultations on this are ongoing,” he said.

The change would bring labeling rules in line with the official EU position on the Israeli settlements, says Rosemary Hollis, Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at City University London.

“This is almost overdue in terms of carrying through on what they say is the legal status, or lack of legal status of the settlements,” she said.

In 2009, an agreement between Israel and the EU liberalized trade in agricultural products and a range of services.  EU imports from Israel soared to $16.7 billion last year.

The row over labeling comes days after the European Union voted to block EU grants and loans to Israeli entities if they are operating in the occupied territories.

But the moves could backfire, says Barak Seener, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.

“The EU has undermined its credibility, its relevance, as an effective or even an impartial interlocutor between Israel and the Palestinians because they’re taking a prejudiced reading of U.N. Resolution 242, which is purposely open-ended and ambiguous because the final status of the territories was meant to be the result of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians," Seener said.     

Already, Israel, retaliating for the European move, has blocked the EU from aiding tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank.

But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s success in bringing the Israelis and Palestinians to the table was coordinated with Europe, suggests Yossi Alpher, former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies who spoke to VOA on the phone from Israel.

“It’s difficult to avoid the impression that Kerry is working with the Europeans in order to apply at exactly the right time a certain degree of pressure to Israel with regard to the settlements and drive home the message that when it comes to issues relating to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel is very much isolated,” Alpher said.

The EU meanwhile says it does not yet have a timetable for the new labeling guidelines.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9118
JPY
USD
124.31
GBP
USD
0.6420
CAD
USD
1.3048
INR
USD
64.136

Rates may not be current.