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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8143
JPY
USD
119.23
GBP
USD
0.6390
CAD
USD
1.1596
INR
USD
63.304

Rates may not be current.