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Israel is concerned about potential EU court’s ruling to label settlement products

A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]
A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 5 June 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

Israel is worried about the potential European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) binding ruling to label products of illegal Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights, Israel Hayom reported on Friday.

According to the Israeli newspaper, the ECJ is expected to issue its final ruling on a request from France’s top tribunal on the issue, on 12 November.

The Israeli newspaper disclosed that the ECJ is likely to rule that goods imported from Israeli settlements must be labelled as such, noting that the ruling would be non-appealable and would be legally binding for all EU member states.

In order to fight this measure, the newspaper reported officials from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that it had ordered Israeli diplomats in Europe to increase their diplomatic efforts against this potential ruling.

READ: Israel draft bill would annex major West Bank settlements

According to an Israeli official, “this ruling will be a boon for BDS. We know that they are following this with great interest.”

Meanwhile, the newspaper revealed that the Israeli ambassadors and consuls were asked to reiterate that labelling settlement goods “will do nothing to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,”  and is a move likely to encourage consumer boycotts.

While, the Israeli Foreign Ministry sent a memo to its diplomats in Europe, stating that “any ECJ ruling to that effect will be morally and ethically wrong.”

The memo also stressed that a ruling of this kind “would undermine the EU’s own policy that only direct negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinians] will lead to a mutually agreed and viable solution.”

It warned that this ruling would “encourage those who are undermining Israel’s legitimacy and promoting boycotts against it,” adding that implementing this ruling “will have a negative effect on Israel’s relations with the EU and its member states.”

The newspaper also reported an Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs source stating that Israel is waiting for the final decision “because the wording itself could have serious and important implications.”

“If it has a general wording that does not specify exactly how the product labelling directive should be enforced, then we will have some leeway,” the source affirmed. “If the guidelines are detailed, this will be a serious blow as all EU member-states are bound by it,” he explained.

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