UK customs tightens checks on Israeli settlement products
The British government warned local food and agricultural importers that they will now be responsible for paying taxes on goods which are manufactured in Jewish settlements located in the Israeli occupied territories, reported Guardian.
The warning came in the form of a written statement released in the House of Commons on Friday, indicating that the agreement between Israel and the European Union (EU) to provide zero duty on Israeli products "does not extend to goods originating in territories occupied during the 1967 war, including Gaza and the West Bank," announced Economic Secretary of the Treasury, John Healey.
Israel will still be able to export goods produced in settlements to the UK, but they will not be eligible for the special rates of duty. British supermarkets have been ordered to clearly identify these products as manufactured in illegal Jewish settlements of the West Bank and Gaza.
The Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) has called to boycott settlement products imported under an Israeli guise. CAABU states that the EU made it clear that settlements are not part of Israel. Their products are therefore excluded from any trade agreement and cannot enjoy preferential tariff treatment.
London’s prominent department store Harrods recently took off its shelves products, which pro-Palestinian groups claimed were labeled Israeli-made although they were in fact produced in Jewish settlements in Israeli-occupied territories.
Another major London department store, Selfridges, also withdrew a range of foods and wines from sale after Palestinian campaigners accused it of effectively assisting Israel's settlement policy by selling goods produced in the West Bank and Golan Heights. Selfridges’ action was however short-lived and the store re-stocked after Christmas. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)