Wednesday

5th Oct 2022

Report highlights EU trade with Israeli settlers

  • Anti-Ahava protest at US supermarket (Photo: Steve Rhodes)

A coalition of 22 NGOs fronted by a former EU commissioner has highlighted the scope of European trade with illegal Israeli settlements.

Its report, out on Tuesday (30 October), cited World Bank figures that EU consumers buy €230 million a year worth of products from 500,000 settlers compared to imports of less than €15 million from the 4 million Palestinians in the region.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"By importing vastly more from settlements that are taking advantage of the occupation than from producers living under the occupation, Europe is helping entrench the discriminatory two-tier system in the West Bank," it said.

The main settler imports are dates, grapes, peppers, fresh herbs, cut flowers, avocados, citrus fruits, tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, potatoes, herbal tea and wine from Israeli firms such as Mehadrin, Arava Export Growers, Hadiklaim, Achdut and Adanim Tea.

Zooming in, it said Israel last year exported 12,000 tonnes of dates from the West Bank, compared to 300 tonnes sold abroad by Palestinian farmers.

In terms of manufactured goods made on Palestinian land, Israeli soft drinks firm SodaStream sells 68 percent of its output in the EU.

Keter Plastic (a maker of plastic furniture), Ahava (cosmetics), Barkan Mounts (television mounts), Ofertex (textiles), Supergum (car plastics), Tip Top Toys Star, Twitoplast (plastic accessories) and Yardeni Locks (locking mechanisms) also export to the Union.

At the same time, EU investors such as G4S (security), Alstom (railways), Veolia (transport and waste) and Heidelberg Cement are pouring money into settler bank accounts.

For his part, Hans Van den Broek - a former external relations commissioner and Dutch foreign minister, who wrote a preamble to the paper - backed 12 proposals for the EU to align its trade and foreign policy.

Apart from a code of conduct for EU consumer labels on settler goods (a work in progress in the EU institutions), the report said the bloc should ban settler imports, ban EU financial transactions with settler bodies and "discourage" EU real estate purchases and tourist trips to settler territories.

"As settlement construction has continued and accelerated ... we Europeans have failed to move from words to action," the study said.

The EU delegation to Israel gave weight to the study.

"The report represents an important contribution to the ongoing debate on this and other issues related to the Middle East peace process," it said in a statement for Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

But the spokesman of the Israeli mission to the EU, Yoel Mester, said it is another attempt to skew the picture.

"It puts an exaggerated focus on the issue of settlements while pushing aside the other issues that are just as important and make up the conflict ... it plyas into the hands of Palestinians by embracing their narrative and doesnot help to bring them back to the negotiating table, where everything, inlcuding settlements, can be discussed," he told EUobserver.

News in Brief

  1. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine
  2. France warns over incoming eighth Covid wave
  3. EU adds Anguilla, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos to tax-haven blacklist
  4. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation
  5. Greece to unveil proposal for capping EU gas prices
  6. Four dead, 29 missing, after dinghy found off Canary Islands
  7. Orbán: German €200bn shield is start of 'cannibalism in EU'
  8. Lithuania expels top Russian diplomat

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. EU debates new pandemic-type loans to deal with crisis
  2. MEPs condemn EU Commission 'leniency' on Hungary
  3. Czech EU presidency wants asylum pledges to be secret
  4. European navies must stay on Suez trade routes, EU diplomats warn
  5. Macron's 'European Political Community' — how could it work?
  6. EU adopts common charger law, forces iPhone redesign
  7. Last-minute legal changes to Bosnian election law stir controversy
  8. EU wants probe into alleged war crimes by Azerbaijan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us