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US Reissues Labeling Guidelines On Occupied West Bank Products

West Bank Palestinian workers at a date packaging factory in the West Bank

The United States has warned Israel that products imported from the occupied West Bank should not be labeled as “made in Israel.”

Guidelines were reissued last week by US Customs authorities in response to the repeated mislabeling of products made in the West Bank.

Press TV reports: US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Thursday the decision to reissue the policy had been taken after mislabeling complaints.

“US Customs and Border Protection reissued guidance on their marking requirements,” he told reporters in Washington, DC. “It in no way supersedes prior rulings or regulations.”

“And nor does it impose additional requirements with respect to merchandise imported from the West Bank, Gaza Strip or Israel,” he added.

“Our understanding is that there were allegations of mislabeling, around nine or ten complaints,” Toner said.

The European Union recently acted to prevent such violations by Israel. The European Commission in November last year adopted new guidelines on labeling of products from the settlements illegally constructed by Israel on the occupied Palestinian territories. 

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) welcomed the EU rules. PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat referred to the decision as a “significant move toward a total boycott of Israeli settlements, which are built illegally on occupied Palestinian lands.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry called the labeling “a politically motivated and unusual and discriminatory step, that [the European Union] learned from the world of boycotts,” referring to the international movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, known as BDS.

On Friday, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel slammed the decision to reissue the guidelines, describing them and the timing, as “unreasonable, unfair and inappropriate.”

He added that Israel should consider whether it needs to have an agricultural attache remain in the United States. He said Israel should weigh other options as well, such as transferring the attache to India or China.