Denmark moves to label West Bank goods as non-Israeli

Maltese party also petitions its government to distinguish between Israeli and settlement produce

Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal. (photo credit: CC BY-SA Mortenf, Wikimedia Commons)
Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal. (photo credit: CC BY-SA Mortenf, Wikimedia Commons)

The Danish government is set to introduce an optional label which would differentiate Israeli products from those of West Bank settlements.

“The government is in the process of preparing a system of information based on retailers’ voluntary participation, identifying food products coming from Israeli settlements,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean Ellermann-Kingombe told AFP.

The precise wording of the label has not yet been determined.

Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal announced earlier this week his intention to begin marking Israeli goods originating from Israeli settlements with a special label.

Søvndal said Denmark’s initiative was in accordance with the EU’s support for a two-state solution, adding that the measure was not a boycott of Israeli goods but rather a means of targeting goods from West Bank settlements that have been deemed “illegal according to international law.”

At the time, Israeli officials said they did not believe the foreign minister spoke for his government.

Alternattiva Demokratika, a marginal Maltese environmentalist party, also petitioned its government to pass a similar motion to differentiate between Israeli and West Bank goods, Malta Today reported on Wednesday.

“A product produced in a settlement on the West Bank, clearly not recognized as a legal settlement by the international community, should not be described as ‘Made in Israel,'” party spokesperson Prof. Arnold Cassola said. However, it is unlikely the motion will pass because Malta’s mainstream politicians are interested in maintaining good trade relations with Israel, a Malta-born official told The Times of Israel.

The two initiatives came after the South African government proposed to ban the labeling of goods produced in the West Bank as “Made in Israel.”

The West Bank is not legally part of the State of Israel, as it was never officially annexed. However, the Israeli Foreign Ministry accused Pretoria of singling out Israel for discriminatory treatment over the West Bank and settlements, noting that there were dozens of similar territorial disputes worldwide.

Some Israelis support South Africa’s planned move, saying Israel needs to realize the world is no longer willing to accept its occupation of the disputed territories. Meretz chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On noted that she herself introduced a similar bill in the Knesset.

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