BRUSSELS: Belgium advised retailers yesterday to clearly label the origin of products made in Israeli settlements that are in occupied territories where Palestinians seek statehood.
The non-binding recommendation has nothing to do with escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, the Belgian Economics Ministry said, noting that Britain and Denmark already had similar labelling in place.
“It’s a non-binding advice to state on labels that products originating from occupied territories come from there,” a ministry spokeswoman said.
“We don’t see this as a sanction against Israel, but EU rules stipulate that consumers have to be informed of the origins of products.”
The ministry planned to send a letter to retail federations yesterday recommending the use of such labels. Belgian retail federation Comeos and the Israeli Embassy in Brussels said they would not comment before the letter was issued.
Israel has been critical of any move to label produce from Jewish settlements clearly or distinguish them from goods produced by Palestinians, arguing that the distinction is part of a larger effort to impose a Palestinian state on Israel.
The labels Belgium has in mind would mainly apply to fruit and vegetables grown in Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley of the West Bank.