The French government on Thursday announced new requirements of importers and retailers to label products from Jewish communities in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.
The government’s “Notice to economic operators concerning the indication of origin of goods originating in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967” cites the November 2015 European Commission guidelines indicating that those areas are not part of the State of Israel. Because of that, the guidelines warn that suggesting a product originating there was made in Israel constitutes a deception of consumers. It is therefore necessary to note on the packages of these products whether they are from places where Jews had lived before or only after June, 1967.
The regulations are very specific about the duty of vendors to note, in addition to the geographical region from which the product had been shipped, the statement that the product was made in “an Israeli settlement.”
No one knows for sure why the French decided to announce these regulations now, one year after the EU had come up with its guidelines, the likes of which have not been issued against any other “occupied” area anywhere. Most EU members have not complied with the guidelines by following suit, as the French have just done, with their own local regulations.
Last year, the European Commission guidelines created a major conflict with the Netanyahu government, which accused the EU of singling out Israel for this kind of hostile and biased treatment. The EU toned down its attack only after Israel threatened to lock its representatives out of any future peace negotiations with the PA.
In that context, it is possible that the Élysée Palace move is in retaliation for Netanyahu’s refusal to attend a peace conference scheduled for some time in the near future in Paris.David Israel