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Norway to label illegal Israeli settlement products accurately

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 13: An Israeli vendor serves a tasting of Makhpela, a blend of Cabernet and Merlot made by Jewish settlers in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, at the country's first international wine exhibition June 13, 2006 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Annual wine consumption has doubled in recent years to some 7.5 liters per capita amongst non-Muslim Israelis. While this is considerably less than the 60 liters each Frenchman or Italian consumes annually, it represents a marked increase in local terms, which has been matched by the development of international quality wines from both local major producers and boutique wineries. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
An Israeli vendor serves a tasting of Makhpela, a blend of Cabernet and Merlot made by Jewish settlers in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, at the country's first international wine exhibition June 13, 2006 in Tel Aviv, Israel [David Silverman/Getty Images]

Norway has decided to label products of illegal Israeli settlements accurately as such in order to distinguish them from goods produced within Israel's recognised borders, the foreign ministry in Oslo announced on Friday.

The decision has attracted the ire of the Israeli government.

"Food goods from Israeli-occupied areas must be labelled with the area where the product comes from and whether it comes from an Israeli settlement, if that is the case," explained the ministry. The measure will apply to the Israeli-occupied territories in the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

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Norway pointed out that the principle behind this move is that consumers should not be misled by the labelling on the origin of products. The European Commission decided that this should be the case in 2015, and recommended it to all members of the European Union. Although not an EU member, Norway is a member of the European Economic Area and has close economic ties with the bloc.

"Norway's decision is an important legal and moral step in the right direction, leading to a boycott of the products of Israeli settlements," said the Palestinian Foreign Ministry. "This is a right step on the way to impose sanctions on the occupying power because settlement construction constitutes a grave violation of international law and signed agreements, and amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity."

There are over 750,000 colonial Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, in violation of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention.

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