Settler Leader Lauds 'True Peace' With Bahrain After Green Light to Import West Bank Goods

Palestinian officials blast Bahraini Minister al-Zayani, who says 'We will treat Israeli products as Israeli products'

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Israeli flags flying in front of the settlement of Efrat, situated on the southern outskirts of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, April 12, 2019.
Israeli flags flying in front of the settlement of Efrat, situated on the southern outskirts of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, April 12, 2019.Credit: AFP

The mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat applauded Bahrain’s announcement on Thursday saying it is willing to import goods produced in Israeli settlements.

“Bahrain is proving that this is a true peace. This concept must now also be adopted by our neighbors and among Israelis themselves. Buying products from Judea and Samaria strengthens shared industrial areas and brings together the two cultures, and actually serves the cause of peace. This is our message to other Israelis and to the world,” Oded Revivi said.

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Bahrain's trade minister announced earlier on Thursday that imports from Israel will not be subject to distinctions between products made within Israel and those from settlements in the West Bank, drawing a rebuke from the Palestinians.

Bahrain's Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister, Zayed Rashid al-Zayani speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem December 3, 2020.Credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates formalized ties with Israel on September 15, in a U.S.-sponsored deal billed by the Gulf countries as being made possible by Israel's shelving of a plan to annex West Bank settlements. Most world powers deem them illegal.

But Bahrain's Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani voiced openness to settlement imports.

"We will treat Israeli products as Israeli products. So we have no issue with labeling or origin," he told Reuters during a visit to Israel.

Under European Union guidelines, settlement products should be clearly labelled as such when exported to EU member countries. The Trump administration last month removed U.S. customs distinctions between goods made within Israel and in settlements.

Al-Zayani's remarks were condemned by Wasel Abu Youssef of the Palestine Liberation Organization as "contradicting international and UN resolutions".

He urged Arab countries not to import products from within Israel, either, in order to prevent it "stretching into Arab markets to strengthen its economy".

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