Israel denounces decision to label settlement products as "discriminatory"

The Court of Justice of the European Union approved, on Tuesday, the labeling of food originating from territories occupied by the Jewish state.

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Palestinians call for a boycott of Israeli settlements at the Ofer checkpoint near Ramallah on 6 August.
Palestinians call for a boycott of Israeli settlements at the Ofer checkpoint near Ramallah on 6 August. ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

The Israeli authorities were apprehensive of the outcome. On Tuesday, 12 November, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in favor of controversial labeling legislation "Foodstuffs originating in territories occupied by the State of Israel". On behalf of "Consumer information", these must "Bear the mention of their territory of origin" and indicate whether, within this territory, they come from an Israeli colony, advocates the judgment of the CJEU.

His judgment reiterates the positions of the European Union (EU), which, in accordance with international law, distinguishes Israel from its settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights. The Hebrew State immediately denounced a decision that could harm its image and its exports, while feeding the international boycott against him. In 2015, when the first steps of the European Commission were announced, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu denounced the "Reminder of dark memories" that they entailed according to him and believed that "Europe should be ashamed of itself".

The Commission had suggested at the time that commodities from the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 "Complementary geographic information" as "Product from the Golan Heights / West Bank (Israeli colony)".

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Tuesday, the CJEU in fact responded to the French Council of State, which had asked for it following the challenge of the decision taken in November 2016 by the Ministry of Economy and Finance on this indication of origin products from the occupied territories. France intended to follow the interpretative note issued by Brussels.

Ethical considerations

Denouncing the French ministerial opinion, the Israeli wine producer Psagot, settled in the West Bank, and the European Jewish Organization (OJE) had filed, in January 2017, an appeal with the Council of State who had relied on the CJEU. Concerned with the "ethical" considerations of the European public in its purchases, it has expressed its support for specific labeling of goods from Israeli settlements so that consumers "Can not be misled as to the fact that the State of Israel is present in the territories concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity".