Israel slams Norway for labeling products from ‘areas occupied by Israel’

Decision will ‘adversely affect’ relations between the countries and Oslo’s role in advancing Palestinian-Israeli relations, says Foreign Ministry.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s Foreign Ministry sharply criticized Saturday night the Norwegian decision to label all good coming from over the so-called “Green Line,” saying it would “adversely affect” relations between the countries.

“This is a decision that will not contribute to the promotion of Israeli-Palestinian relations,” the ministry said in a statement. “It will adversely affect the bilateral relations between Israel and Norway and impact the relevance of Norway’s role in the advancement of Israeli-Palestinian relations.”

Oslo announced Friday that it only recognizes Israel within the pre-June 1967 borders, and therefore all imports from the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem would be marked differently.

In its statement, the government cited a 2019 ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that “the Food Information Regulation must be interpreted so that food from areas occupied by Israel must be labeled separately so that consumers are not misled by a lack of labeling about the origin of the products,” the government stated.

It mentioned specifically “wine, olive oil, fruit, vegetables and potatoes that come from the relevant areas.”

Although Norway is not a member of the EU and is not obligated by its court’s rulings, the statement mentioned that these specific foods are not included in the free trade agreement between Israel and European countries that includes the Scandinavian state.

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Israel harshly criticized the ECJ ruling at the time as setting a “double standard” for the Jewish state when goods from dozens of other countries involved in territorial disputes were not included in the labeling decision.

Then-foreign minister Israel Katz said that it was “unacceptable both morally and in principle.” The former head of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council, Yisrael Gantz, slammed it for “discriminat[ing] against Jews living and working in their homeland of thousands of years.”

Gantz also pointed out that “this decision will directly hurt the Arab population working at these factories, and manufacturing these products.”

Through Knesset laws, Israel declared its sovereignty over united Jerusalem immediately after the war, and over the Golan Heights in 1981.  Other than the United States, most countries refuse to recognize the change in status, deeming the areas “occupied,” or at best “disputed,” territories.

Norway says its decision is “in line with” UN Security Council resolutions as well as “assessments” by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that “the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories [are] contrary to international law.”

In 2020, the Norwegian parliament voted down a similar bill to label products from settlements in Judea and Samaria.