Israeli settlement products: from the “right to know” to full respect of international law

The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed yesterday, 12 November 2019, that foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by Israel must bear the label “Israeli settlement” when sold in the European market. According to the Court, European consumers have the right to know that a foodstuff comes from a locality established in breach of the rules of international humanitarian law and take into account considerations relating to the observance of international law.

The ruling stresses the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination in the occupied West Bank and confirms that Israeli settlements “give concrete expression to a policy of population transfer conducted by that State outside its territory, in violation of the rules of general international humanitarian law.” The judgement is binding in all European Union Member States and the European Commission is responsible for its effective implementation.

Commenting on the Court decision, EuroMed Rights president, Wadih Al-Asmar, said: “Indeed, the progressive integration of the West Bank into the State of Israel violates international law, unlawfully appropriates Palestinian land and natural resources, and deprives Palestinians of their right to self-determination.”

Settlement products proceed from criminal offences and have been produced through an act that is prohibited in EU Member States’ national legislations. “Besides protecting consumer rights, EU Member States should prevent goods and services originating in the illegal Israeli settlements from entering the European market and ensure European companies withdraw from settlement activities that adversely impact Palestinians’ human rights,” added Wadih Al-Asmar.