The EU labeling policy

Here is the statement of PM Netanyahu on the decision by the EU to label products from the West Bank, so-called “occupied territories,” separate from Israel:

“The labelling of products of the Jewish state by the European Union brings back dark memories. Europe should be ashamed of itself. It took an immoral decision. Of the hundreds of territorial conflicts around the world, it chose to single out Israel and Israel alone, while it’s fighting with its back against the wall against the wave of terror. The European Union is not going to hurt the Israeli economy. It’s strong enough to weather this, but it’s the Palestinian workers in Israeli enterprises in Judea and Samaria that will be hurt. This will not advance peace; it will certainly not advance truth and justice. It’s wrong. Europe should be ashamed of itself.”

I should point out that there is no EU labeling of products from the northern region of Cyprus occupied by Turkey, no labeling of products from Tibet occupied by China to distinguish them from other Chinese products, no labeling of products from Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, no labeling of products from Kosovo that is nominally part of Serbia, and no specific labeling of any other products from anywhere else around the world, except those of the Jewish State.  This must tell you something.

To those who say, as the EU Ambassador to Israel said, that the West Bank is not part of Israel, this is at least debatable.  Israel claims those territories as Judea and Samaria, which were part of the original League of Nations Palestine Mandate to Britain (also recognized by the UN that replaced the League).  These territories were occupied by Jordan in the 1948 war, but that occupation was never recognized under international law.  Neither was Israel’s occupation recognized after the 1967 war.  But, that does not mean that those territories are part of a Palestinian State, there has never been such a State and it has never been recognized.  So given that at least the territories can be regarded as disputed and that the whole of them are neither controlled by Israel or by the PA, at the very least the EU authorities should acknowledge that they cannot conclude that these territories are Palestinian.  And if that is the case then they cannot legally justify such a labeling decision.

It should be noted that this decision by the EU is not binding on the individual member nations, and further there is no penalty that can be assessed if the individual EU members choose not to implement this recommendation.

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