Friday, October 30, 2020

First EU ban of settlement products

By Eva Jael - June 05, 2014
Section: [Main News] [BDS]
Tags: [BDS] [European Union] [settlements] [economy]

Chicken and eggs on European plates will no longer come from illegal Israeli settlements.
The European Commission declared on 24 May that the import of poultry produced by Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories into the European Union (EU) is no longer permitted. The European lawmakers have stated that they cannot accept the authority of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture to certify products stemming from the occupied territories. The EU believes the Ministry is not able to guarantee veterinary standards in settlement chicken farms.
The decision follows new EU legislation that came into effect late last year. These new rules state that organizations that profit from Israel’s settlement policy are no longer eligible to receive EU funding. Furthermore, these organizations are prevented from working with the governing body of the 28 country block. The ban on the import of poultry products marks the first time the EU has restricted trade with settlement businesses of private companies based in EU member countries. 
Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement recognizes the significance of the ban. “The decision is an implementation of the EU’s commitment not to recognize Israeli sovereignty over occupied Palestinian territory. I hope this will be a first step towards ensuring that the EU does not provide recognition or assistance to Israel’s illegal settlements and the occupation regime.” 
He does not, however, believe that the move in itself will have a great impact on Israel’s settlement politics as a whole, or the settlement economy in particular. “If the EU is serious about taking concrete and effective measures to meet its legal obligations and end its complicity with Israeli violations of international law, it should ban all trade with illegal Israeli settlements, ensuring European companies stop participating in any Israeli projects in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
The current ban is indeed not likely to have a particulairly significant effect on Israeli trade. Poultry from settlements makes up only about 5% of all such products coming from Israel. Were the EU to decide to include all agricultural products in their ban, as Mr. Barghouti suggests, the implications for settler trade would be much more severe. 
According to the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, Europe is Israel’s biggest export market when it comes to food. If the EU were to decide it could not accept the authority of Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture over any food product produced in the West Bank, the settlements would stand to lose a 230 million euro market, according to 2012 figures put out by the World Bank.
The EU delegation in Israel was not available to comment on the likeliness of a complete ban of agricultural products from settlements.

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