Norway to label goods made in illegal Israeli settlements in West Bank

Occupied Palestine (The Inside Palestine)- The Israeli occupation regime condemned Saturday Norway’s decision to start labeling products from the illegal Israeli settlements as their place of origin.

The Israeli foreign ministry issued a statement on Oslo’s position, saying it would “adversely affect bilateral relations between Israel and Norway, as well as Norway’s relevance to promoting relations between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Tel Aviv” was referring to Norway’s longstanding role as a mediator between Palestine and the occupation, which goes back for decades.

The Norwegian social democratic government announced the policy change on Friday, stressing that its former policy of only labeling products from the occupied territories as Israeli was not enough.

Despite the measure mainly applying to imports of wine, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables, it caused an uproar from “Tel Aviv”. The decision will also only apply to products from the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem (occupied Al-Quds) and the occupied Syrian Golan, Oslo said.

The United Nations had declared that the West Bank and the eastern part of Al-Quds were Palestinian territories occupied by “Tel Aviv”, as opposed to the territories that the UN declared as part of “Israel” rather than Palestine.

Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt stressed in an interview with Norwegian news agency NTB that this was not a boycott of the occupation.

Norway, despite acknowledging the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, still wants to uphold relations with “Tel Aviv”.

“Norway has good relations with Israel,” she added. “That must continue.”

The European Commission has since 2015 recommended its member states follow this practice, a decision confirmed by the European Court of Justice in 2019.

As set out in the 2019 ruling, Norway said, the principle behind its decision was that it did not want local consumers to be derived by misleading labeling regarding the products’ origin.

The action taken by Oslo contradicts one taken by the United States under the Trump administration. A major ally of the Israeli occupation, President Trump declared that goods made in the occupied territories could be labeled Israeli.

The settlements occupied by “Tel Aviv” are illegal under international law, though they have continued under successive Israeli governments since 1967, growing to include more and more Palestinian territories over the years.

Throughout May, the Israeli occupation made announcements about expanding its settlements in the occupied West Bank, occupied Palestine, by 4,500 settlement units.

“Tel Aviv’s” announcement in early May came in light of preparations for a trip by US President Joe Biden to the occupied land, set to take place later this month amid calls on his administration to curb the Israeli expansionism and treading onto more Palestinian land.

Several sources familiar with the matter told Axios at the time that the Israeli government, pushed by pressure from the Biden administration, had decided to reduce the number of approved settlement units from 5,800 to 4,000. However, a smaller number still constitutes a violation of the rights of Palestinians, a drop in the sea of those committed by Israelis.

“Israel” decided in April to “delay” the approval of building 4,000 settlements in the West Bank – and with the worsening security situation in occupied Palestine, the Israelis are being cautious with such provocations.

Regardless of the intentions behind Norway’s decision, and though it is not boycotting the occupation, it constitutes a shift from the latest actions by the West on occupied Palestine, as it has been escalating its aggression against Palestinians and the BDS movement, with several states banning pro-Palestinian rallies and boycotting the occupation altogether.

The German police in late April announced the cancellation of a rally in support of Palestine and condemned the Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa coinciding with World Quds Day.

The organizers of the demonstration told Al Mayadeen that they were surprised to hear the rally was banned, particularly since the reasons mentioned by the German police are illogical and illegal, owing to pressure from the Zionist lobby in Germany.

Source: Almayadeen

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