Norway to label products from Israeli settlements

Palestinian demonstrators block the road in front of Israeli security forces during a demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Tarqumiya, northwest of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on 11 June, 2022AFP

Israel on Saturday condemned Norway’s decision to label products from Israeli settlements with their place of origin.

A statement from Israel’s foreign ministry said the position “will adversely affect bilateral relations between Israel and Norway, as well as Norway’s relevance to promoting relations between Israel and the Palestinians”.

The ministry was referring to Norway’s longstanding role as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Norway’s social democrat government announced its new policy on Friday, saying it was not enough to label products coming from the occupied territories as Israeli.

The measure mainly concerns imports of wine, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, and will apply to products from the occupied West Bank “including East Jerusalem” and occupied areas of the Golan Heights, Oslo said.

Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt stressed in an interview with Norwegian news agency NTB that this in no way constituted a boycott of Israel.

“Norway has good relations with Israel,” she added. “That must continue.”

The European Commission recommended its member states follow this practice in 2015, a decision confirmed by the European Court of Justice in 2019.

Norway said that the principle behind its decision, as set out in the 2019 ruling, is that consumers should not be deceived by misleading labelling on the origin or products.

During the Trump administration, the United States announced that goods made in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories could be labelled Israeli.

The settlements in the occupied territories are illegal under international law, but have continued under successive Israeli governments since 1967.