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Belgium to label settler products, Israeli DFM cancels events in protest


Belgium plans to label West Bank settlement products as not made in Israel. It’s a move that created an immediate crisis with Israel, with the Foreign Ministry stating that it condemned the move. 
Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, who is in Belgium, immediately canceled his meetings with the Belgian Foreign Ministry and the country’s parliament.

The labeling of products produced in Judea and Samaria “harms Israelis and Palestinians alike. It is inconsistent with the Israeli government’s policy that seeks to improve the lives of Palestinians, to strengthen the PA and improve Israel’s ties with Europe.

“The Belgian government’s decision strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region and transforms Belgium into a force that does not contribute to Middle East stability,” Roll said.

The European Union has for decades exempted West Bank settlement products for its free trade agreement with Israel. Since 2015, it has provided EU member states such as Belgium with guidelines on how to legally apply consumer labels to Israeli products produced over the pre-1967 lines in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

A European Union flag flies outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 19, 2019. (credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)A European Union flag flies outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 19, 2019. (credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in 2019 that such products must be labeled. But EU countries have been slow to act on that edict.

The UN Security Council in 2016 passed Resolution 2334 that called on all UN member states to differentiate in their dealings between those areas of Israel that are within the pre-1967 lines and those which are beyond that Green Line.

The move comes as the EU grows increasingly concerned with Israeli settlement activity and its continued construction of Jewish homes in east Jerusalem.





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