Israeli anger over South Africa bid to label West Bank settlement goods
Vita Bekker, The National (UAE), May 21, 2012
South Africa's Unprecedented Move
Tel Aviv - The Israeli government lambasted an unprecedented move by
South Africa to label all products made in Jewish settlements in the
occupied West Bank before selling them.
The South African decision, should it be implemented, would hand a
considerable victory to a campaign by Palestinians and their
supporters to boycott products made in Jewish settlements.
The South African move would be the first time that any country forces
companies to inform consumers about which goods were produced in the
Denmark And European Union Countries May Follow Suit
Denmark said on Saturday that it may take a similar step and analysts
said other European Union countries may also follow suit, possibly
hurting Israel's diplomatic ties with western allies and staining
Israel's image among consumers in other countries.
Economic damage, according to analysts, is negligible since
settlements' exports account for less than 2 per cent of Israel's
Israel In Violation Of International Law
Experts say Israel is violating international law by not separately
labeling products made within the country's internationally
recognized borders and those produced in West Bank settlements.
"Israel's placing of a label 'made in Israel' on products made in the
West Bank is fraud," said Neve Gordon, an Israeli political scientist
and author of the book Israel's Occupation.
"The South African decision would force Israel to expose its lie."
Last week, the South African government published a statement by Trade
Minister Rob Davies saying the state would require merchants "not to
incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied
Palestinian Territory as products of Israel."
The statement, which did not detail what would be written on labels of
settlement-made products, said the goods include some cosmetic brands,
technology products and soft drinks.
The decision is subject to objections from the public until the end of June.
Palestinian officials welcomed South Africa's move.
Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said: "This is based on a
proper understanding of the illegality of settlements and their
products. We hope that this will be followed by other countries."
On Saturday, the Danish foreign minister, Villy Sovndal, told the
Danish Politiken newspaper that the country would stop labelling
products from settlements as ones made in Israel.
He said: "This is a step that clearly shows consumers that the
products are produced under conditions that not only the Danish
government but also European governments do not approve of."
Other countries could do this (clears throat.)
~ Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy