‘Supporting extremists’ – Israel blasts Belgium for product labeling plan

Belgium’s decision to label goods from Judea and Samaria as not originating in Israel “harms Palestinians and Israelis alike,” says Foreign Ministry.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israeli officials slammed Belgium for its decision to label products manufactured in Judea and Samaria as not being made in Israel, saying that the move strengthens anti-Zionist extremism.

On Wednesday, the Belgian government said it would be labeling products as specifically originating in settlements, and would work to “increase controls” on such items.

The labeling “makes a distinction between Israel on one hand and the Palestinian territories on the other hand.”

The decision was made out of a desire “to ensure human rights in the West Bank,” according to a statement from Brussels.

Hebrew language media reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, who is currently in Belgium, immediately cancelled planned meetings with his counterparts in the Belgian foreign ministry and parliament members.

Roll said in a statement that the move “strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region, and shows Belgium as not contributing to regional stability.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry blasted the decision in a statement which said the labeling decision was “anti-Israeli” and “harms Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

“It is inconsistent with the Israeli government policy focused on improving the lives of Palestinians and strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and with improving Israel’s relations with European countries.”

In 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that products made in Judea and Samaria should be specifically labeled as not originating in Israel.

In November 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new U.S. policy towards Israeli goods manufactured in the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria, which would ban them as being labeled anything other than “made in Israel.”

During a December 2020 visit to Israel, Bahraini Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Zayed bin Rashid Al-Zayan told reporters that Bahrain would be open to importing Israeli goods made in the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria and labeling those products as “made in Israel.”

However, due to backlash, he walked back his statement shortly afterwards.