The U.S. reissued guidelines on labeling settlement products amid Palestinian disgruntlement, even though the State Department maintains that there have been no changes to U.S. policy.
Following Palestinian complaints that some West Bank products were being labeled “Made in Israel,” the U.S. reiterated its opposition to Israeli settlement policies by issuing a reminder of the 1995 and 1997 laws that goods from the West Bank and Gaza be labeled as such.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed reports of mislabeling.
“Our understanding is that there were allegations of mislabeling, around nine or 10 complaints,” Toner said. “As you know, U.S. guidelines don’t differentiate between products produced in settlements or anywhere else in the West Bank.”
Under U.S. law, “it is not acceptable to mark the aforementioned goods with the words ‘Israel,’ ‘Made in Israel,’ ‘Occupied Territories-Israel,’ or any variation thereof.”
The decision to republish the guidelines came soon after U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro slammed Israel’s conduct in the West Bank, accusing Israel of employing two standards of law – one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.
Toner insisted that the reissuing was simply to clarify U.S. policy on the matter following reports of mislabeling.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection reissued guidance on their marking requirements,” Toner told reporters. “It in no way supersedes prior rulings or regulations and nor does it impose additional requirements with respect to merchandise imported from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, or Israel.”