The deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister of the Republic of Ireland Eamon Gilmore declared in early May that goods from “Israeli settlements in the West Bank” should be treated as illegal. The Labor Party politician declared that Ireland would strongly support a European Union initiative to label exports from Israeli producers in the Palestinian state to give consumers the choice of whether they want to buy them. He said this was “in effect” like boycotting the goods.
Now, according to Israel’s Army Radio, Germany, too, has thrown its support in favor of the labeling plan. An official German government document states that “products should be labeled ‘Made in Israel’ only if they are manufactured within the 1967 borders.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who’s the de facto foreign minister until MK Avigdor Liberman is done with his court case, told the Army radio: “We will fight. We will deal with this phenomenon,” reminding listeners that “at one time, the UN decided that Zionism is racism — but we didn’t say that that was a lost cause.”
This might mean that Elkin already knows it’s a done deal, and that everything coming out of Judea and Samaria will be receiving the seal of condemnation.
Goods produced in Judea and Samaria are not eligible for the same preferential tariffs enjoyed by Israeli exports to the EU. According to 2012 World Bank figures, the EU imports $300 million worth of goods a year from Israeli settlements, roughly 15 times more than from the Palestinians. But that’s where things become interesting:
It turns out the goods coming out of Jewish settlements, provide wages to local Arabs, who earn more working for the “damnable” Jews than they could average working for an Arab business.
The Israel-based corporation SodaStream, which produces a home beverage carbonation system, has 13 production facilities worldwide, three of which are located in Israel and the dreaded “West Bank,” employing 1,100 people as of 2012.
SodaStream’s principal manufacturing facility is located in Mishor Adumim – the industrial area of the Judea town of Maale Adumim. This factory employs some 900 Arabs, half of whom live in the Palestinian Authority, from Jericho to Ramallah, the other half are residents of annexed East Jerusalem.
So that, when the EU, in its attempt to help the Arabs living in the PA, is making it tougher for SodaStream products to sell in Europe – who suffers? That’s right, the Arabs living in the PA.