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Chistian Aid welcomes new EU guidelines for labelling Israeli settlement products

13 November 2015 - Christian Aid welcomes new guidelines that will require the true provenance of goods and produce exported from Israeli settlements on the West Bank for sale in the EU to be clearly labelled. Until now, such exports have generally been labelled “Made in Israel.”

It said the guidelines, issued by the European Commission at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, was a positive move in countering Israel’s illegal settlement policy.

William Bell, Christian Aid’s Senior Advocacy advisor for the Middle East, said: “This is an important step towards addressing the illegal status of Israeli settlements and acknowledging the negative impact they have on the local Palestinian population.

“We hope that ensuring settlement exports to the EU are clearly labelled as such signals a more determined effort to implement policy that excludes settlements and their exports from any EU-Israel cooperation or bilateral agreements.

“Ensuring that settlement products are accurately labelled allows consumers to make an informed choice. Of course, consumer choice alone will not be enough to tackle the problem and ultimately we would like a complete ban on settlement exports to the EU.

“That is not the same as a ban on trade with Israel, and suggestions that these new guidelines are the start of a slippery slope towards that end are simply untrue.

“Christian Aid believes, along with most in the international community, including the EU, that the settlements are illegal under international law, a major cause of poverty amongst Palestinians and an obstacle to peace.

“The number of settlers on the West Bank has steadily risen over the years to nearly half a million and many settlements have become their own economic centres, producing goods that have worked their way into markets around the world.

“At the same time, they have taken away large swathes of land from Palestinians, as well as resources that could be used for economic development.  Trade with the settlements helps perpetuate their presence by making them economically profitable.”

If you would like further information please contact Johanna Rogers on jrogers@christian-aid.org or 020 7523 2460 & 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950 

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk


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