Israeli public figures call for European ban on West Bank settlement products

Politicians, diplomats and academics urge European Union to go a step further, after the European Court of Justice ruled settlement products must be labelled


Thirteen Israeli public figures have signed an open letter calling for the European Union to ban the import of goods man in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The European Court of Justice ruled last week that items must be clearly labelled if they are manufactured in the settlements, which are considered occupied territory by the international community.

“We believe that accurate labelling of settlement products is an important step but is insufficient,” the letter to the Guardian newspaper reads.

The letter was signed by 13 notable Israelis and public intellectuals, including Avraham Burg, the former Knesset speaker and head of the Jewish Agency and former Attorney General Prof Michael Ben-Yair – as well as Israeli ex-ambassadors Ilan Baruch, Prof Eli Barnavi, Erella Hadar and Dr Alon Liel.

Other signatories include former MK Mossi Raz and Israel Prize recipients Prof David Harel, Prof Yehoshua Kolodny, Alex Levac, Prof David Shulman and Prof Zeev Sternhell.

“We call upon the European Union to ban the import of Israeli settlement goods. Israeli settlements are the leading cause of human rights violations against Palestinians, and settlement expansion is destroying the possibility of a two-state solution," it continues.

“By banning goods that originate in Israeli settlements, Europe would help support the differentiation between Israel per se and settlements in the occupied territories.

“We believe that the occupation is morally corrosive, strategically shortsighted, and thoroughly detrimental to peace. The international community has taken insufficient action in addressing this reality.

“Europe continues to support the occupation financially by allowing trade with Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. It should be clear that continuing to sell goods that support the erosion of democracy in Israel and the denying of rights to Palestinians is unacceptable.

“As Israelis who care about the future of our country, we ask the European Union to ban the import of settlement goods in order to support a just future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

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