Thu, Jul 26, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Made in Israel? Not a simple question

Israeli soldiers march in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah on March 16.
以色列士兵三月十六日在約旦河西岸巴勒斯坦拉馬拉附近的Nabi Saleh村前進。

Photo: AFP

For decades, Israel has marketed an array of cosmetics and food products manufactured in the occupied West Bank as “Made in Israel,” blurring their true origins in Jewish settlements opposed by virtually the entire international community.

Now that practice is being challenged with demands that products made in the settlements be labeled accordingly.

Recent criticism, coming most prominently from South Africa, is putting Israel in a bind over the muddle it has created in the West Bank, despite 45 years of control and a massive and costly effort to settle it with Jews, Israel has never annexed the territory — and the Palestinians claim it for a future state.

South Africa issued a notice in May saying it wants to require merchants “not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory as products of Israel.” It said consumers should not be “misled” that the products originated in Israel.

The notice did not specify what the label should say, saying “the burden for proving where the products originate will lie with traders.”

South Africa is not a major market for Israel. Nonetheless, the voice of the South African government could be a symbolic boost to the Palestinians, given the country’s history of overcoming apartheid and its leading role in the developing world.









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