President Donald Trump’s government has expressed its “deep concern” over the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the need to identify products originating from Israeli settlements in territories occupied since 1967.
The court’s decision, announced on Tuesday, affects Israeli products from the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, has no appeal and endorses France’s decision to introduce such a labelling requirement.
The European Jewish Organization and the company Psagot, which exploits vineyards in the occupied territories, had appealed to the French courts in 2016.
“Circumstances surrounding the requirement of labeling in the specific facts presented to the EUJ indicate anti-Israeli bias,” State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said today in a statement.
“This requirement serves only to encourage, facilitate and promote boycotts, investment withdrawals and sanctions against Israel,” he added. “The United States unequivocally opposes any effort for such purposes, or any other economic pressure to isolate or delegitimize Israel.
“The path to the resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is through direct negotiations,” Ortagus said. “The United States stands with Israel against efforts to economically pressure it, isolate it or delegitimize it.
The ECJ considered that the European Community rules on food labelling oblige to indicate if a product comes from one of these occupied territories and, if it comes from one of the Israeli settlements in them, to specify it.
The opinion of the Luxembourg court also confirmed the European Commission’s interpretation in 2015 of the rules on food labelling in relation to the territories occupied by Israel.
The EU and its Member States do not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since the end of the 1967 Six Day War, and consider Israeli settlements in these territories to be illegal.