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EU Court: Goods From Israeli Settlements Must Be Labeled

FILE - The Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, is seen Sept. 25, 2019.

Israeli products made or produced in occupied territories must be labeled as such when sold in European Union countries, the EU's top court ruled Tuesday.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice said products made in Israeli settlements cannot just be labeled "Made in Israel," as "the state of Israel is present in the territories concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity."

It said clear labeling "could influence consumers' purchasing decisions," some of whom may choose not to buy products because of "ethical considerations and considerations relating to the observance of international law."

The EU has been a vocal opponent of Israeli settlements, calling them illegal under international law.

Israel quickly rejected the court ruling, saying it illustrated the EU's "double standard against Israel."

"There are over 200 ongoing territorial disputes across the world, yet the ECJ has not rendered a single ruling related to the labeling of products originating from these territories," the Foreign Ministry said.

The ruling was welcomed by human rights groups.

Lotte Leicht, EU director for Human Rights Watch, said it was "an important step toward EU member states upholding their duty not to participate in the fiction that illegal settlements are part of Israel. European consumers are entitled to be confident that the products they purchase are not linked to serious violations of international humanitarian law."