Biden admin planning to label goods from Judea and Samaria towns as US ramps up pressure on Israel: Report

Critics have argued such policies would be anti-Israel and discriminatory.

By Troy O. Fritzhand, The Algemeiner

The Biden administration is planning to require goods produced in Jewish communities in Judea and SAmaria to be clearly labeled as coming from there as the US continues to increase pressure on Israel amid its ongoing war against the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza, according to a new report.

A final decision on whether to approve the move has not been made, but its purpose would be to increase pressure on Israel over alleged violence by some Jewish residents against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, the Financial Times reported, citing anonymous US officials.

Critics have argued such policies would be anti-Israel and discriminatory. Proponents who oppose Israeli settlement construction in Judea and Samaria say labeling the goods would make it easier for US consumers to avoid the products by marking them as coming from “occupied” territory.

The US State Department told The Algemeiner that, as a general matter, it does not comment on “internal government deliberations,” adding only, “We have no changes to announce.”

The move would reverse a policy implemented by the former Trump administration that required goods produced in Judea and Samaria to be labeled as “Made in Israel.”

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The potential decision came amid increasing US pressure on Israel over the war in Gaza.

In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, US President Joe Biden issued his toughest public rebuke of Israel since its war against Hamas began in the fall, warning that US policy moving forward will be determined by whether Israel takes certain actions to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

According to a White House readout, Biden demanded that Israel agree to “an immediate ceasefire” with Hamas and “made clear the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers.”

Without such steps, Biden threatened to fundamentally change the US-Israel relationship: “He made clear that US policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action on these steps.”

The US reportedly considered marking products from Israeli-administered parts of Judea and SAmaria with special labels in February, when Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced plans for the construction of more than 3,000 settlement homes in response to a deadly terrorist shooting in the territory. According to the Financial Times, the Biden administration was close to announcing the step.