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Anderson welcomes progress on labelling of illegal Israeli settlement products

26 November, 2015 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for the six counties, Martina Anderson has welcomed the renewed commitment of the EU to label products from illegal Israel settlements.

Speaking after a chairing a special meeting of the Delegation of Relations with Palestine on the labelling of settlement products, Martina Anderson said;

"Illegal Israeli settlements remain one of the largest obstacles to peace in the region.

Over 800,000 settlers live illegally in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The EU, as it stands, contributes directly and indirectly to the occupation via trade in settlement products, financial support for Israeli institutions in the occupied territories and investment in Israeli military infrastructure

Compare this with the attitude of the EU to other nations engaged in occupation and breaches of human rights and their inaction over Israel become perplexing

However, at this morning's meeting representatives from the European Parliament and the European External Action Service renewed their commitment to the labelling of settlement products and provided details on how this would be achieved.

This development is most welcome.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Martina Anderson continued,

"It is estimated that Israel exports around €200 million worth of illegal settlement products to the EU every year.

The introduction of labelling on these products will inform consumers and allow them to make a conscious decision when purchasing goods the profits of which directly or indirectly contribute to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.

The EU needs to do more though. Trade with the EU is worth an estimated €13 billion to Israel. Therefore the EU has huge potential to act as a partner in peace and put pressure on Israel to reverse its regressive military aggression in Palestine.

At the moment Israel can access preferred trade tariffs with the EU on goods produced within the 1967 borders. This is unacceptable - the occupation must cost Israel.

The fragrant disregard for the rights of Palestinians must be challenged in every way possible

The EU has placed Restrictive Measures on trade against other countries that have abysmal human rights records, and rightly so, but is rewarding Israel with favourable tariffs.

National governments and the international community should consider every possible action in order to advance a sustainable peace in the region. Israel must be put under pressure until they accept the Oslo Accords, end the occupation and begin genuine peace talks aimed at a lasting peace and the two-state solution." ENDS

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