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November 24, 2021 5:06 pm
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Israeli Diplomat Cancels Meetings With Belgian Officials Over Move to Label Settlement Products

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

A view shows the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank, October 27, 2021 REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israel’s deputy foreign minister cancelled planned meetings with Belgium’s foreign minister and parliament officials following a decision by Brussels to label products made in West Bank settlements.

“The Belgian government’s decision to label products from Judea and Samaria strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region, and shows Belgium as not contributing to regional stability,” Idan Roll stated.

Back in 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that goods produced in territories that have been under Israeli control since the 1967 Six-Day War must bear labels indicating their origin, and thereby made distinct from goods produced within Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries. The court said labels must “prevent consumers from being misled as to the fact that the State of Israel is present in the territories concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemned Belgium’s move in a statement, saying it “harms Israelis and Palestinians alike and is inconsistent with Israeli government policy focused on improving Palestinian lives and strengthening the [Palestinian Authority] and improving Israel’s relations with other European countries.”

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Roll, who is in Brussels for a state visit to the country and Luxembourg, said he met with leaders of the Jewish community in Belgium.

“I know that closing the gates to Israel at the start of COVID-19 damaged our relations with some in the Diaspora and therefore I emphasized that Israel is the state of the Jewish people and that will never change,” Roll tweeted.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh welcomed the decision, tweeting, “It is critical for the international community to confront Israel’s illegal settlements, which erode the two-state solution and the possibility of peace.”

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