Bill: Israeli Firms Would Be Required to Notify Customers if They Don't Provide Services to Settlements

Businesses that don't ship goods or provide after-sales service to settlements could face 10,000-shekel fine; regulations would make it easier to form blacklist of such companies.

New homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
Ilan Assayag

The government is looking to pass new regulations that will force Israeli businesses to place prominent signs in their premises if they don’t provide shipping or other services to settlers in the occupied territories.

Under the new regulations, a business owner who doesn’t display the sign could be liable to a fine of up to 10,000 shekels ($2,660).

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon outlined the move Sunday, as part of a law designed to prevent discrimination against those living in outlying areas and Arab villages, but it also specifically mentions assisting settlement residents.

Lawmaker Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) hinted that the move would allow settlers to draw up a “blacklist” that will permit a boycott of businesses that treat settlements differently to Israel proper. The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee will discuss approving the bill on Monday, prior to its second and third readings in the Knesset.

“It cannot be that residents of Judea and Samaria, for example, will purchase a product but never receive services or shipping for it because they live beyond the Green Line, or they will be required to pay a ‘special charge,’” said Moalem-Refaeli, referring to the West Bank and Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

“Businesses that choose to discriminate against consumers who live in Judea and Samaria, in outlying areas or in Arab communities will be obligated to inform their customers in advance. If they fear being put on customers’ blacklists, they should them treat all equally.”

According to the regulations, a business will need to place a sign “close to every cash register, in a prominent place, which sets out its shipping or service policy.”

The sign must be at least A4 size (210 x 297 millimeters, or 11.7 x 8.3 inches). The regulations also include specific instructions relating to the lettering: The words “Shipping Service Policy” or “Customer Service Policy” must appear at the top of the sign, underlined and no less than 65 pixels in size. The size of text within the actual announcement must be no less than 24 pixels.

According to the anti-discrimination bill, which has already passed its first reading in the Knesset, “Whoever offers a product or service to the public or operates a public place, will not discriminate in providing the product or public service at the place of the business, in allowing entrance to a public place or providing service in a public place due to the place of residence.”

In Clause 2 (A), it is written specifically that the law will apply to providing for “the area defined by emergency regulations (Judea and Samaria).”

The bill’s explanatory notes add: “The business will be prohibited from doing anything, in practice or by omission, in writing or verbally or any other way, including after the connection [was made] that is liable to mislead the consumer regarding the place to which the property or service will be provided, including stopping the asset or service in the area of Judea and Samaria.”