Belgium’s foreign office has announced on Wednesday that it will label all products produced in West Bank Israeli settlements, considered illegal under international law.
The announcement drew a swift rebuke from Israel, with the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, who is currently visiting Belgium, canceling a meeting at the foreign ministry in Brussels and the country’s parliament.
“I canceled my planned meetings with the Belgian Foreign Ministry and Parliament,” Roll wrote on Twitter.
I canceled my planned meetings with the Belgian Foreign Ministry and Parliament. The Belgian government's decision to label products from Judea & Samaria strengthens extremists, does not help promote peace in the region, and shows Belgium as not contributing to regional stability
— Idan roll – עידן רול (@idanroll) November 24, 2021
Belgium’s decision to label products made in Israeli settlements dates back to a 2019 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which stated that consumers should be aware of any items made in the illegal outposts.
Since the ruling, many EU countries have been slow to implement the labeling.
Photo: IANS (File) pic.twitter.com/jHDBzUz2pt
— IANS Tweets (@ians_india) November 25, 2021
Even prior to the ruling, the EU had long exempted Israeli products made in settlements from its free-trade agreement, and in 2015 EU member states were issued guidelines on how they could legally label goods produced beyond the 1967 frontier, considered the borders of a future Palestinian state.
Belgium’s decision to label settlement-produced goods comes at a time of heightened tension between the EU and Israel.