Israeli Official Nixes Belgium Meetings Over Gov't Decision to Label Settlements Products

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Psagot Winery's vineyards sit near the Palestinian city of Al-Bireh.
Psagot Winery's vineyards sit near the Palestinian city of Al-Bireh.Credit: Alex Levac

The Belgian government has decided to label products made in West Bank settlements, leading Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll to cancel his meetings with Belgium's foreign minister after landing in the country for his diplomatic visit.

In a Tweet announcing the cancellation, Roll said the decision "strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region, and shows Belgium as not contributing to regional stability."

Israel's Foreign Ministry condemned the decision, and said Wednesday that the labeling of settlement products "harms Israelis and Palestinians alike and is inconsistent with Israeli government policy which seeks to improve the lives of Palestinians, to strengthen the PA and improve Israel's ties with Europe."

Left-wing Israeli activist group Combatants for Peace, whose activists usually mark settlement products in Israeli supermarkets, said that it "welcomes the Belgian government's decision to label products from the occupied territories. Products created on land with resources plundered from another people." It added that "If Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll had occasionally visited Israel, maybe he would be exposed to the cost of the occupation".

The Belgian decision follows a European Union court ruling in November 2019, ordering member states to label settlement products, an edict member states have been slow to act on. In 2018, a French court granted an Israeli settlement winery's request not to enforce the EU directive to mark products manufactured in the settlements. However, the decision further requested the European Court of Justice to review the decision since France is subjected to EU law.

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