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16 FMs urge EU to enforce labelling of products from illegal Israeli settlements

Some 16 European foreign ministers have called on the EU to push forward the process of labelling goods sourced from illegal Israeli settlements.

The ministers signed a letter addressed to EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini calling for Europeans not to be “misled by false information”, and saying consumers must be made aware of the origins of the goods they are purchasing.

The foreign ministers who signed the letter were from:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Britain
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

The letter highlights the importance of such a process as a “step in the full implementation of EU longstanding policy, in relation to the preservation of the two-state solution” and one that will further the prospects of a just and final peace agreement.

This is not the first time efforts have been made by foreign ministers to enforce product labelling. In April 2013, 13 EU foreign ministers sent a similar letter to Mogherini’s predecessor, Catherine Ashton who suspended the process in the summer of 2013 at the request of US Secretary of State John Kerry at the time attempting to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

However, since the diplomatic stalemate of 2014 between Israel and Palestine, more countries have united in renewing the effort to label goods from settlements, particularly after the Israeli elections in March and in light of Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks against a two-state solution. EU foreign policy chief Mogherini has made it clear that she intends to make Israeli-Palestinian peace talks a priority.

Last year it was reported that the European Union was considering a set of sanctions against Israel if it continued to illegally build in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Sanctions mentioned in the document include clearly labelling products manufactured in the illegal Israeli settlements and sold in EU supermarkets, as well as restricting the free-trade agreement between the EU and Israel.

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