Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, and member of the Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has welcome the European Union’s decision to provide tighter rules on the correct labelling of products coming from illegal Israeli settlements.
Crowe describe the development as a small but significant step, while accepting that much more needs to be done around Israel’s favourable trading status with the EU while it continues to violate international and human rights law.
Deputy Crowe said:
“Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine are completely illegal under international law, they violate Palestinian human rights, they are flash points for conflict, and they are one of the biggest obstacles to a lasting peace process based on a two-state solution.
“I, along with many others, have long campaigned for the EU to ban goods from or made in these illegal settlements from entering European markets. I have also consistently argued that if the European Union fails to take up this approach, then Ireland should implement a unilateral ban on these goods.
“The EU’s labelling rules cover agriculture produce and goods coming from businesses and farms based in illegal settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.
“The rules also state that rather than being labelled ‘product of Israel’ these goods must now be labelled with the term ‘settlement’ or ‘its equivalent’.
“It is the producer, exporter, and importer who are responsible for complying with the regulations, but it is up to member countries to ensure that the rules are followed.
“It remains to be seen how this will be rolled out, but I am hoping that EU Member States vigilantly ensure that the rules are followed to the spirit and letter of this new initiative.
“Israeli settlements are built on stolen land and the illegality of these settlements means that all products should not just be labelled but banned from European markets.
“So while I welcome labelling as a positive and first small step, it is vital that a ban on all settlements goods follows. A ban on violent illegal settlers from entering the EU should also be introduced and Israel’s favourable trade status should be removed while they continue to violate international and human rights law with their illegal occupation.”