I wish to correct a misrepresentation of the position attributed to The Elders Foundation, a group of independent leaders working for peace, justice and human rights, by Mr Shimon Samuels in a recent Times of Israel post (Letter to Kofi Annan the Elder, 17 May 2013).
The Elders have called on the European Union to introduce labeling guidelines to distinguish products made in Israel and products manufactured in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which are illegal under international law.
Contrary to Mr Samuels’ claim, this measure would help reinforce the legitimacy of the State of Israel by distinguishing it from illegal settlements established beyond the Green Line on land that is considered occupied territory by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.
The Elders believe that correct labeling of settlement goods, an initiative supported by many Israelis, is a small but essential step towards preserving the two-state solution and therefore the long-term viability of the State of Israel.
In this regard, The Elders’ call is fully consistent with the EU’s position, which supports a two-state solution and has repeatedly urged Israel to “immediately end all settlement activity.” Furthermore, several European countries have already implemented such labeling guidelines, including the UK. Plans for an EU-wide labeling regime will be discussed in Brussels later this year.
CEO, The Elders
Lesley-Anne Knight is Chief Executive Officer of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders working for peace, justice and human rights.