Monday, 26 Sep 2022 - 1 of Tishri, 5783

Norway defends its decision to label Israeli products from Judea and Samaria, Israel says it could have a negative effect on relations between the two countries

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“Norwegian consumers have the right to know whether a product sold in Norway is produced in Israel or in an area occupied by Israel,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt stated.

The Israeli foreign ministry condemned the Norwegian labeling decision, saying that it ‘’will not contribute to the promotion of good relations between Israel and the Palestinians,” and would also negatively affect Norway’s ability to influence Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt defended her country’s announcement on Friday that goods imported from the West Bank, the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem must be labeled accordingly, a decision which was condemned by Jerusalem where the foreign miniustry said it could have a negative effect on relations between the two countries.

“Norwegian consumers have the right to know whether a product sold in Norway is produced in Israel or in an area occupied by Israel,” the Norwegian minister stated, according to the Norwegian press agency NTB.

Norway said the labeling decision was taken inline with a European Court of Justice ruling in 2019 requiring products from these territories to be labeled as originating from an “Israeli settlement.”

According to its guidelines, “foodstuffs originating in areas occupied by Israel must be marked with the area from which the product comes, and that it comes from an Israeli settlement if that is the case, especially wine, olive oil, fruit, vegetables and potatoes.”

The Norwegian minister said that ‘’this is by no means a boycott of Israel.’’ We believe that boycott is the wrong policy,” she said. “Norway has a good relationship with Israel. We will continue to have that.”

But the Israeli foreign ministry condemned the decision, saying that it ‘’will not contribute to the promotion of good relations between Israel and the Palestinians,” and would also negatively affect Norway’s ability to influence Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Israel had attempted to prevent the Norwegian decision, but those efforts proved unsuccessful, Ynet reported on Saturday. The report cited Israeli diplomatic sources as saying that the Norwegian decision is politically-motivated, and that other countries are not expected to follow Oslo’s path.

Norway is not a member of the European Union but the Norwegian Foreign Minister cited other Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Finland and Sweden as three EU member states which had introduced similar policies regarding the labeling of Israeli exports.

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