A senior legal advisor to the European Union’s top court said yesterday that products from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory should be clearly labelled as such, reported AFP.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is “considering a request from France’s top tribunal for clarification of rules on labelling goods” from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
According to AFP, the ECJ “is not obliged to follow Advocate General Gerard Hogan’s advice, but the former Irish judge’s legal opinions are seen as highly influential in the bench’s deliberations.”
In his legal advice, Hogan said that “labels must make it clear if products originate in the occupied territories, and in particular if they come from Israeli settlements in those areas.”
“EU law requires, for a product originating in a territory occupied by Israel since 1967, the indication of the geographical name of this territory and, where it is the case, the indication that the product comes from an Israeli settlement,” an ECJ statement outlining Hogan’s legal opinion stated.
In 2016, France published guidelines saying products from Israeli settlements must carry labels making their precise origin clear, but this was challenged by the Organisation Juive Europeene (European Jewish Organisation) and Psagot, a company that runs vineyards in occupied territories.
In his opinion, Hogan said the European Union rules on labelling products take into account “ethical considerations” that might influence a consumer’s purchases.
According to AFP, “drawing a comparison with the way many Europeans boycotted South African products during apartheid”, Hogan said people might avoid goods from a particular country because it pursues “policies which that consumer happens to find objectionable or even repugnant”.
“It is hardly surprising that some consumers may regard this manifest breach of international law as an ethical consideration that influences their consumer preferences and in respect of which they may require further information,” Hogan stated.