Apt ruling on labelling of settlement goods - GulfToday

Apt ruling on labelling of settlement goods


The European Court of Justice has made it clear that, it must be clear where products are from.

The ruling by the European Union’s top court that food products from Israeli-occupied territories must be labelled as such to avoid misleading consumers, in particular if they come from settlements in those areas, is an appropriate and welcome decision.

The European Court of Justice has made it clear that, under EU rules on food labelling, it must be clear where products are from so consumers can make choices based on ethical considerations and considerations relating to the observance of international law.

The ruling comes after France’s top tribunal asked for clarification of rules on labelling goods from the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, which the international community considers occupied Palestinian land, as well as the Golan Heights, which Israel took from Syria in 1967.

The court has clearly stated that labelling products as from the “State of Israel” when in fact they come from “territories occupied by that State and subject to a limited jurisdiction of the latter, as an occupying power within the meaning of international humanitarian law” could mislead consumers.

On the issue of Israeli settlements too, the court has made it clear that “they give concrete expression to a policy of population transfer conducted by that State outside its territory, in violation of the rules of general international humanitarian law”.

Just last month, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the UN Security Council that pervasive deteriorating facts on the ground in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are pushing us every further from achieving a viable two-State solution.

With the spotlight on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Special Envoy Nicolay Mlandenov detailed “new dangerous flashpoints” emerging in the region, under rapidly shifting developments in the Middle East as a whole, which have snowballed into a growing threat to international peace and security.

Occupations in Palestinian areas continue, and no progresss has been made in realising a negotiated two-State solution, he reported during his quarterly update to the Council on the Middle East. “It is a multi-generational tragedy for the peoples of this land.”

A growing number of Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, remains a substantial obstacle in the peace process.

In the recent months, plans have advanced for housing units to expand in the occupied West Bank, and though exact numbers have yet to be confirmed, even without this latest advancement, the approval of settlement expansion so far this year is already greater than that for all of 2018, the UN official explained.

The international community should end Israel’s occupation and guarantee the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and establish an independent country, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Blind support by Washington has emboldened Israel to embark on a dangerous path. A series of actions taken by the Donald Trump administration has been in favour of Israel.

The halting of funds to the UNRWA, recognising occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, relocating US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem, refusing to restrain Israel from illegally expanding settlements are just a few among such moves hostile to Palestinians.  

All European countries should implement what is a legal and political obligation regarding labelling of products. In fact, as secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Saeb Erekat insists, “Our demand is not only for the correct labelling reflecting the certificate of origin of products coming from illegal colonial settlements, but for the banning of those products from international markets.”

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