We Are Being Marked

European Union is preparing legislation to oblige stores to designate products coming from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu basks in the worldwide interest he aroused when he marked the red line on his Iranian bomb drawing, the international community is displaying growing interest in marking the Green Line between Israel and the occupied territories.

A few weeks after South Africa's government decided to label products made in the territories Israel conquered in June 1967, the European Union is preparing legislation to oblige stores to designate products coming from Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This is to make it easier for consumers who wish to avoid the purchase of merchandise produced in occupied territory.

At the same time, an inquiry committee appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council has begun, despite Israel's protests, to examine the settlements' impact on the Palestinian population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The foreign ministers of the donor states to the Palestinian Authority expressed profound displeasure at a recent meeting over steps to drive the Palestinians off area C with the intention of keeping it for the settlers' exclusive use. The area, which is under full Israeli security control, encompasses some 60 percent of the West Bank.

Israel says labeling the settlements' products constitutes discrimination on a national and political basis. But the same government argues that building and expanding the settlements is not a violation of international law and that the West Bank settlement of Ariel must be treated the same as Tel Aviv. Why, then, is inscribing the Ariel industrial area on a product seen as "discrimination," while denoting that a product comes from Tel Aviv would presumably be regarded with indifference?

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's self righteous claim, that the new regulation would harm the Palestinians who make a living working in the settlements' factories, is especially outrageous. No regulation harms the Palestinians more than the settler Lieberman's sitting on their land.

Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz on Friday that the Foreign Ministry fears the European regulation would encourage a complete boycott on settlement-made products and even a boycott on merchandise produced within the '67 lines.

These "fearful" officials had better explain to their political superiors that those who refuse to mark the border between Israel and occupied territory, according to the delineation accepted the world over, should not be surprised if tomorrow the world also erases that same border.