December 11, 2009
British government advises supermarkets to label products from Israeli settlements
The British government advised supermarket chains to label clearly all products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
The move was condemned by Israeli officials who promised to fight against it, but the British government says the decision simply provides clarity and openness to consumers.
When asked about it some time ago, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the aim is to make sure that shoppers have clear information.
In Israel, the move was described as “capitulation to Palestinian organizations.” While the international community considers neither territory to be part of Israel, the Golan Heights was annexed by Israel nearly three decades ago.
Recently pro-Palestinian campaigners in Britain have increased their pressure on major supermarket chains that import Israeli products, demanding that they bar all imports from Israel in addition to those produced by Israelis in the West Bank.
Currently all products state the country of origin in small letters, and all products from Israel are labeled as those from other parts of the world. Some food chains did indicate specifically if products were made in the West Bank, but did not say if they were made in Arab or Jewish areas.
It is not yet clear if and how the supermarkets will respond to the new advice.