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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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22 European NGOs Seeking Ban on Trade with Israeli Settlers

Though Europeans enjoy the import of many products from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, a new effort on the part of a group of European NGOs may put an end to the trade, in the name of supporting Palestinians.
A settler tending to his vineyard in the settlement of Bat Ayin. European anti-settlement activists are pushing to curtail the sale of products from Judea and Samaria.

A settler tending to his vineyard in the settlement of Bat Ayin. European anti-settlement activists are pushing to curtail the sale of products from Judea and Samaria.
Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90

Though Europeans enjoy the import of many products from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, a new effort on the part of a group of European NGOs may put an end to the trade, in the name of supporting Palestinians.

The European Union has maintained that Jewish communities in the biblical heartland to the north and south of Jerusalem – known by them as the “West Bank” of the Jordan river but to lovers of the Bible as “Judea and Samaria” – are “illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

Yet its constant importation of products from the areas have provided some of the support that allows the areas to thrive and grow, according to a new report, and must end, according to an article chronicling efforts to stop the practice in Der Spiegel.

According to the report, Hans van den Broek, a former European Commissioner for External Relations, has initiated a study: “Trading Away Peace: How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements.”

The study shows that European countries import 15 times more goods from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria than they do from Arab ones.

Der Spiegel reported that Israel’s government records an estimated €230 million ($298 million) in produce, toys, textiles and cosmetics exported to the EU yearly from Judea and Samaria – approximately 2% of all its exports to Europe, despite a European Court of Justice ruling in 2010 excluding Jewish products from Judea and Samaria from the EU’s international customs cooperation agreements.

The products have been brought into Europe because they are labeled as Israeli, and do not identify their specific point of production in the blockaded areas (in the UK and Denmark, producers from Judea and Samaria are obligated to mark their products).  To such a degree does Europe attempt to boycott Judean and Samarian products, that European customs authorities are obligated to check the postal codes from which the products arrive, to determine if they were sent from Jewish areas in the forbidden zone – yet , according to the study, officials often fail to do so.

The new group seeking to boycott Jewish products from Judea and Samaria is pushing to require all producers from the area to label their products, so that the EU can deny them entry.

The report decried Israeli government assistance to residents in the opposed region.  Yet Der Spiegel’s article noted that “the European Union provides the Palestinians with massive amounts of support. Between 1994 and 2011, some €5 billion in development aid was sent by the EU according to the European Commission, €525 million of that in 2011. In addition, several EU member states send aid independent of EU funding.”

The report noted that if Europe severely restricts its participation in anything to do with Judea and Samaria, it can affect real change.  It noted last year’s decision by the German national railway company, Deutsche Ban, to pull out of a project to build a high-speed railway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as a positive example.  Deutsche Ban backed out of the project after German Transport Minister Peter Ramsaeuer wrote a letter to Deutsche Ban’s CEO, noting that 3.7 miles of the track would run through areas Germany considers to be Palestinian territory, making the project a problem “from the perspective of human rights”.

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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16 Responses to “22 European NGOs Seeking Ban on Trade with Israeli Settlers”

  1. Gil Gilman says:

    Choose this day whom you would serve, International "Law," or Hashem, as for me and my house, we do not care a fig for the bandwagon of international opinion. It is a bandwagon that has been coming around more on than off for millennia. Many are jumping on the bandwagon, as it careens down the wadi into the dust. G-d will judge the nations. Don't be like the servant of אֱלִישָׁע, who could not see the multitudes assembled to defend Israel from the hordes assembled against them.

  2. Alan Kardon says:

    What is European NGO? Who are the 22 involved?

  3. Peter Visser says:

    Non governmental organisation.

  4. We will never forget those open minded liberal Europeans and their hatreds.

  5. Anya Khan says:

    Peter Visser He knows that he wants the names.

  6. Alan Kardon says:

    IS THAT THE POLITCALLY CORRECT WAY OF SAYING ANTI-SEMITES? WHO ARE THESE 22 GROUPS?

  7. There is no need to fear since G-D will bless those who aid Israel and curse those who try to hurt Israel. Advocates around the world should make it clear that Judea and Sameria by International law is NOT an Arab PA area and/or disputed. There is a false impression that these areas belonged to Arabs thus are occupied and should be "returned" this falsehood should be corrected by all means. We are losing the Media war and that should be corrected.

  8. Rc Fowler says:

    It would be a good thing for good people to buy from Israeli settlers–and to hell with twenty two European NGO's!

  9. Rc Fowler says:

    Let's not forget the "open minded" Jewish Israeli's–who agree with the 22 European NGO's!

  10. Anonymous says:

    NGOs…I bet there are muslim involved here….rrrrrrr.

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