Dutch government defends labelling Israel settlement produce after challenge from parliament

Jewish settlement of Givat Ze'ev near Ramallah (AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  November 27, 2019

The Dutch government has told parliament it will “maintain its support for the European Union’s policy of labelling goods produced in Israeli settlements…and act to enforce it”, reported Haaretz. 

The letter sent yesterday, and obtained by the Israeli newspaper, states the government’s rejection of the claim that labelling such produce constitutes unfair treatment of Israel.

The letter came in response to a non-binding motion passed with the help of right-wing parliamentarians, calling on the government not to abide by the recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision on the labelling of settlement produce.

According to Haaretz, the motion was the result of cooperation between the Christian Union party “and staff members from the Israeli embassy in the Netherlands”.

The ECJ was ruling on a case brought by a settlement-based winery. Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal.

The Dutch government emphasised to parliament “its commitment to the regulations of the European Union, saying they are meant to help European consumers to obtain accurate information about the products they purchase.”

The ECJ ruling stated that labelling settlement produce as from “the state of Israel”, when in fact they originate from an occupied territory, could mislead consumers about the fact that Israel “is present in the territories concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity”.