EU bans poultry imports from settlements

European officials tell Israel that they recognize Health Ministry oversight inside the Green Line only

The European Union has banned the import of poultry and eggs from Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, including annexed East Jerusalem, Israeli news website Walla reported on Thursday.

The 28-nation bloc informed the Israeli Agriculture Ministry that it recognized its veterinary supervision only within the Jewish state’s pre-1967 borders and that settlement poultry produce therefore did not meet public health regulations for import, the website said.

An EU official in Tel Aviv confirmed the report and said the ruling was issued “in the spirit” of guidelines which came into force in January prohibiting dealings with settlement-based firms and bodies.

The settlements are illegal under international law and their continued expansion in the face of EU and US criticism was a prime factor in the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“This issue, like many other trade issues that come up in the framework of trade relations between Israel and the European Union, will be addressed within the framework of the ongoing professional dialogue between the parties,” Walla quoted an agriculture ministry spokesperson as saying.

The ministry declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

“It should be noted that poultry and poultry-related products from the settlements account for under five percent of all such products in Israel, so that the new European guideline will not have much practical impact from an economic standpoint,” Walla reported.

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