In a significant development on Wednesday, the powerful European Commission issued new guidelines for the labelling of some products made in Israeli settlements on illegally occupied Palestinian and Syrian land.
From now on, agricultural produce and cosmetics sold in EU member states must have clear labels showing their place of origin, reported BBC News.
At a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, the European Commission adopted an “interpretative notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.”
The Commission says the territories comprised the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, which were captured from Syria.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu criticised the move decision saying “EU should be ashamed of itself”.
Settlements built on territories occupied by Israel in 1967 is considered to be illegal by the EU under international law.
Netanyahu, who was in Washington on an official visit, called the decision “hypocritical and a double standard.”
The Israeli foreign ministry summoned the EU ambassador to Israel and warned that it would suspend diplomatic dialogue in the coming weeks.
According to the new guidelines, the products from occupied territories of West Bank or the Golan Heights in Syria must carry “Israeli settlement” on their labels in brackets. So, “product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)” or “product from West Bank (Israeli settlement)” could be used.
Products from the West Bank not originating from settlements could be labelled “product from Palestine” or “product from West Bank (Palestinian product).”
Despite widespread international condemnation, Israel has carried on with its decision to occupy Palestinian lands particularly in the West Bank. The EU’s announcement will bring cheers from the Palestinians, who’ve long complained of being tormented at the hands Israeli forces.
Israeli soldiers, in recent years, have been accused of committing gross human rights violations.