Israel expresses anger at new Palestine food labels

Israel expresses anger at new Palestine food labels

Labels will soon show whether food from the West Bank, such as strawberries, dates and olives, comes from Palestinian farms or Israeli settlements, to give buyers a clearer choice.

Supermarkets and other retailers have decided to follow controversial new government guidance, despite Israel’s anger that it will provoke a boycott of its goods.

Goods will specify “produce of the West Bank (Israeli settlement produce)” or “produce of the West Bank (Palestinian produce)”. The Government has decided that produce from Israeli settlements may not be labelled “produce of Israel” because the area is not within the state’s internationally recognised boundaries.

Traders labelling goods from the occupied territories as Israeli produce also face possible enforcement action for breaching EU legislation.

The move immediately provoked a diplomatic spat with Yigal Palmor, the Israeli foreign affairs spokesman. He condemned the move, saying that it was “catering to the demands of those whose ultimate aim is the boycott of Israeli products”. He said: “It is a matter of concern.” [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — Indeed, this surely is a matter of concern to the Israeli government. I wonder how quickly British consumers will respond appropriately and stop buying stolen goods?

Jewish settlers ‘to increase by 10,000 within year’

An Israeli minister has predicted there will be 10,000 new settlers in the occupied West Bank over the next 10 months and insisted that a moratorium did not freeze but only limited construction.

“Over the next 10 months the population of 300,000 will grow by at least 10,000 residents,” said Benny Begin, a minister without portfolio from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, in comments broadcast on public radio on Friday.

“Properly speaking, this is not a freeze. We are not planning to freeze life but only to impose certain limits on construction” in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Begin said on Thursday night in Tel Aviv. [continued…]

Abbas slams ‘brutal’ settlers for attack on West Bank mosque

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said that Israel must rein in settlers’ ‘brutal’ actions, after assailants vandalized a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf, torching furniture and spraying Nazi slogans in Hebrew on the premises.

“The torching of the mosque in Yasuf is a despicable crime, and the settlers are behaving with brutality,” said Abbas, who called the act a violation of religious freedom.

“The settlers’ unruly behavior must be stopped,” Abbas added after meeting on Friday with United Arab List-Ta’al chairman Ahmed Tibi in Amman.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier on Friday condemned the vandalization of the West Bank mosque, allegedly at the hands of settlers protesting Israel’s temporary freeze on settlement construction. [continued…]

Palestinian leader speaks from prison

How would you resolve the conflict between Fatah and Hamas?

Marwan Barghouti: During my time in prison brothers from various parties and I were able to draft a prisoners document which became the framework for a national unity document that all 13 Palestinian parties signed on June 27, 2006. It is the first document in the history of Palestinian parties, that the PLO, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad participated in and agreed on a state with 1967 borders, and accepted the PLO and the president of the Palestinian Authority to negotiate in the name of Palestinians, and accepted the call for a national unity government. The conflict will be resolved by referring back to this document and with the signature of all [parties] on the Egyptian national reconciliation document, and by resorting to presidential and legislative elections, and by respecting the law and ending internal strife and through the reestablishment of a national unity government. [continued…]

Yossi Beilin calls for George Mitchell’s resignation

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