Press Release: Caabu welcomes EU labelling guidelines for settlement products
11 November 2015
Caabu has welcomed the announcement of EU guidelines on the labelling of Israeli settlement products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It reinforces the longstanding EU position, shared internationally, that the occupied territories do not form part of the state of Israel and that settlements are illegal.
Britain introduced labelling guidelines for agricultural products from settlements back in 2009. It is an offence to label food products from settlements as Israeli. The EU decision today should mean that Britain will introduce labelling guidelines to all products from settlements in the West Bank. For example, this should include Dead Sea products from Ahava which is based inside Occupied Territory.
Commenting on this in various media interviews, Caabu Director, Chris Doyle stated: “Contrary to statements from Israeli ministers and spokespeople, this is not a boycott of Israeli goods, and only deals with the labelling goods which are not actually even Israeli.”
This is a minimal and sadly much delayed step taken by the EU. It is unlikely to deter Israel from pushing forth with its major settlement expansion but it is a start and consumers across the EU will at least now have clearer guidelines as to what they are buying. Nevertheless given that settlements are illegal and a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, what should be happening is that the EU should not be trading such products at all, as they are proceeds of crime.”
There are numerous further options that the UK together with EU partners could take against illegal settlement building. Many of these were outlined in a ground breaking report authored by a coalition of 22 European NGOs including Caabu entitled “Trading Away Peace: How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements.”These options range from the action taken now, the correct consumer labelling of all settlement goods entering the EU to a complete ban on all settlement imports. Banks in the EU should also be prevented from issuing loans and mortgages to Israeli settlements.
Notes to editors:
1) For more information or interviews contact Chris Doyle, on + 44207 832 1321 or +447968 040281.
2) The text of the EU interpretative notice can be read here: http://www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/israel/documents/news/20151111_interpretative_notice_indication_of_origin_of_goods_en.pdf
3) Trading Away Peace can be read here: http://www.caabu.org/news/news/new-report-eu-imports-15-times-more-illegal-israeli-settlements-palestinians