New step towards the labeling of products coming from Israeli settlements

Press release
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On 25 November 2016 the French Ministry of Economy and Finance issued a recommendation to economic actors concerning the labeling of products coming from Israeli settlements.

The recommendation requires retailers to label food products from Israeli settlements with the exact place of origin, as to ensure consumers are not misled. That is, explicitly adding the expression ‘Israeli settlement’ or equivalent in brackets.

This recommendation answers to the pressure of NGOs and civil society who have welcomed progress in the implementation of the EU Interpretative notice on indication of origin of goods from the Occupied Territory.

This positive step is part of a set of measures States, the EU and the UN have taken in recent years to condemn business involvement in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and improve the global standard of expected conduct for all business enterprises thanks also to the pressure of the campaign Made in Illegality. In March 2016 the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) passed a resolution to establish a database of all business enterprises involved in the construction, maintenance and growth of the settlements [1]. Since 2009, the UK has implemented voluntary guidelines for labeling, distinguishing West Bank products made in Israeli settlements from Palestinian West Bank products. Similar guidelines have been put in place by Belgium and Denmark.

However, while these are positive and important steps, FIDH believes that European consumers should not be the only ones responsible deciding whether or not they wish to support illegal settlements through the purchase of goods and products. It is first and foremost the responsibility of States and the EU to take all necessary measures to ensure that they do not recognize and contribute to the maintenance of illegal settlements. This would require a ban on the importation of products from the settlements, since trade with the Israeli settlements only reinforces their viability.

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