Wednesday 29 March 2023

Norway labels products from Israeli settlements

Palestine: Norway’s decision to label settlements’ products ‘important legal step’ in right direction.

Norway has announced it will mandate place-of-origin labelling on products from the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move that has provoked fury from Israel.


The country's social democrat government announced its new policy on Friday, saying it was not enough to label products coming from the occupied territories as Israeli.


The move follows advice from the European Commission in 2015, which recommended its member states follow this practice, a decision confirmed by the European Court of Justice in 2019.


The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has hailed a decision by Norway to label products manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying it is a “right step” in fulfilling international obligations, including imposing sanctions on the Zionist regime.


The ministry made the remarks in a statement on Sunday, after the Norwegian government announced that Israel’s agricultural goods coming from the occupied West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Golan Heights must be labeled with their place of origin, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.


"Foodstuffs originating in areas occupied by Israel must be marked with the area from which the product comes, and that it comes from an Israeli settlement if that is the case," a Norwegian foreign ministry statement said, according to a Times of Israel report.


However, Israel heavily criticised the move, with the regime’s foreign ministry saying on Saturday it would "adversely affect bilateral relations between Israel and Norway, as well as Norway's relevance to promoting relations between Israel and the Palestinians".


The ministry was referring to Norway's longstanding role as a mediator between Israelis and Palestinians.


Norway said that the principle behind its decision, as set out in the 2019 ruling, is that consumers should not be deceived by misleading labelling on the origin of products.


During the Trump administration, the United States announced that goods made in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories could be labelled Israeli.


The settlements in the occupied territories are illegal under international law, but have continued under successive Israeli governments since 1967.

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