Israeli companies have begun to relocate their factories from settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in order to avoid labelling their products as a way of circumventing the EU crackdown on settler-produced goods, Turkey’s Anadolu agency has reported.
Antoine Shalhat, a researcher in Israeli affairs, told the news agency yesterday that: “Israeli companies are moving their businesses to Israel to circumvent the EU decision to avoid EU labelling.”
Shalhat explained that the Israeli government will try everything to protect the settlements’ economy and that “the decision to remove the factories from the settlements has always been on the table.”
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported, that some Israeli companies who have factories in the settlements decided not to wait for the European Union’s decision and relocated their plants to within the Green Line.
According to the paper, some well-known companies that have already moved their factories from the settlements include SodaStream, Volcano, Beagle-Beagle and Multilock.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy, Azmi Abdul Rahman, said the Israeli factories decided not to wait for the EU’s decision and relocated their plants earlier in the year.
“However, these companies and factories have increased the pace of moving their headquarters to circumvent the European decision,” he told Anadolu.
The Palestinian Minister of Economy Abeer Odeh called on the European Union in a statement last week to be cautious, saying some Israeli factories label their products as having been produced in Israel when in fact they are manufactured in the settlements.
According to the Federation of Israeli Industrialists, there are some 600 Israeli factories operating in the West Bank, including a number of huge export companies.
The Federation estimates the total export value for products produced the settlements and imported to the European Union to range between $300 and $400 million a year out of Israel’s total of $15 billion exports to EU countries.