Israel intends to summon the South African ambassador for clarifications, after South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry announced on Saturday that products produced by Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria (Shomron) cannot be labeled as products of Israel.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor announced on Saturday evening Israel’s intention to summon the South African ambassador, adding that Israel will act in the coming days to have the announcement, issued by Minister Rob Davies, cancelled.
“This is singling Israel out on a clearly political basis,” said Palmor. “This decision has racist characteristics. The Government of South Africa does not clarify in the new regulation what is defined as made in Judea and Samaria. The EU has a list and clear criteria to distinguish between products made in Israeli settlements and those that are not. The vague phrasing in the South African regulation shows that there are no clear criteria and therefore it will hurt Israeli products in general. "
Davies’ announcement warns merchants “not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as products of Israel.”
The announcement follows a year-long campaign by pro-Palestinian Authority groups.
Denmark is planning a similar step, and will mark all products from Judea and Samaria with a special sticker. A minister explained the policy aims to give customers “full information” regarding products’ origins.
While pro-PA groups fight to mark Judea and Samaria-produced products in an attempt to pressure Israel, the step is likely to hurt PA residents more than it hurts Israeli employers. Israel’s factories in Judea and Samaria employ a total of over 10,000 PA Arabs, doing much to reduce the PA’s high rate of unemployment.