TEL AVIV – Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley are refusing to obey the new EU labeling guidelines that call for goods produced in the West Bank to clarify that they were not produced in Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Jordan Valley farmers were shocked at a request by a German company to label goods with the statement “Occupied territories by the Government of Israel,” Jordan Valley Regional Council head Dudu Elhayani told the Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
In an angry letter to German Ambassador Clemens von Goetze, Elhayani said the request was “discriminatory” and “politically motivated.”
“I want to clearly inform you: We will not label our products. Such labeling is equivalent to the marking of Jews in Europe during dark and terrible times in the past. It is absolutely unacceptable,” Elhayani said.
Elhayani added that receiving such a demand at this time, during a wave of almost daily attacks on Israelis by Palestinian terrorists, was particularly disturbing.
“It is absolutely outrageous,” he said.
According to the Post, Elhayani explained to the ambassador that 60 percent of the people who live in the Jordan Valley are farmers who rely on agriculture to make a living.
Elhayani added that 20% of the valley’s exports go to Europe. The rest, he said, are shipped to Russia, the US, and Asia.
The EU in December published guidelines for consumer labeling that state “not made in Israel” on Israeli products produced beyond the pre-1967 lines. The move has been heavily criticized for being unhelpful in advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians.