The European Commission "adopted this morning the Interpretative Notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967," said an EU official.Of course the EU doesn't insist on labeling goods from Northern Cyprus or Western Sahara or the Ukraine as being from "occupied territory.". This is a rule created for Israel and Israel only.
Drawn up over three years by the European Commission, the guidelines mean Israeli producers must explicitly label farm goods and cosmetics that come from settlements when they are sold in the European Union. The EU guidelines aren't expected to necessarily apply to Israeli industrial or electronic products, or to non-fresh foods.
"This is a technical measure, not a political one," one Commission source said on Tuesday. "The occupied territory is not part of the sovereign state of Israel, so goods cannot be sold as 'Made in Israel'."
The EU does not recognize the legitimacy of Israel's presence in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. It says the labeling policy aims to distinguish between goods made inside the internationally accepted borders of Israel and those outside.
Gaza seems to be included despite the fact that Israel has no presence in the Strip anymore. Officials in Israel point to the inclusion of Gaza as an indication the decision is in fact political in nature, and meant to show that in the eyes of the EU, Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip has not ended because of the blockade imposed over the Palestinian enclave.
But the Israelis who put the labels on can respond with pride. Turn it into an opportunity to show that they are proud of their country, proud of where they live and proud to have returned to where their forefathers lived.
The new rules say that goods from Judea and Samaria (and the Golan Heights) must not say "product of Israel." They insist that the wording is something like "'product from the West Bank (Israeli settlement)".
No one can say that the producers couldn't add an additional label, one that says accurately that the goods are from the Land of Israel - which is a Biblical term. So labels for produce should include something like this along with the mandated text:
In the end, the purpose of these rules is to separate Jews from their land. The only proper response is to strengthen those ties - and to be proud of them.
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