Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh has hailed Belgium's decision to label products made in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as a "move in the right direction."
Shtayyeh announced yesterday that Belgium's move has been made because Israeli settlements are "contrary to international laws and resolutions" and is in "alignment with the values of truth, justice and freedom." He called on other countries to follow Belgium's lead in this respect. "They should also condemn settlement expansion and adopt policies that will curb the settlers' increasing attacks on Palestinian citizens," he added.
The Belgian Foreign Ministry explained that the government continues to apply international and European law, "which makes a distinction between Israel on one hand and the [occupied] Palestinian territories on the other hand. We expect that these goods will be labelled correctly by exporters [although] we have found that it's very difficult to confirm the exact origin of products." It pointed out there is no ban on settlement products.
In response, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll said on Twitter that he is cancelling meetings with the Belgian Foreign Ministry and parliament during a visit to Brussels this week. "The Belgian government's decision to label products from Judea & Samaria [sic] strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region, and shows Belgium as not contributing to regional stability," he claimed.
I canceled my planned meetings with the Belgian Foreign Ministry and Parliament. The Belgian government's decision to label products from Judea & Samaria strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region, and shows Belgium as not contributing to regional stability
— Idan roll – עידן רול (@idanroll) November 24, 2021
The European Union's top court ruled in 2019 that EU countries must identify products made in Israeli settlements on their labels.