By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – A group of “concerned” former Israeli ambassadors, politicians and award winners urged the European Union on Friday to “ban the import of settlement goods in order to support a just future for Israelis and Palestinians.”
Israeli settlements are the "leading cause of human rights violations against Palestinians", a letter published by the Guardian, said.
“We, concerned citizens of Israel, welcome the recent ruling of the European court of justice, which in confirming that Israeli settlement products cannot be labelled as originating in the State of Israel, reaffirmed the illegality of settlements and the importance of international law,” the letter said.
The group said they “believe that accurate labelling of settlement products is an important step but is insufficient.”
“We call upon the European Union to ban the import of Israeli settlement goods,” they urged the EU, claiming that a ban on goods that originate in Israeli settlements would “help support the differentiation between Israel per se and settlements in the occupied territories.”
“We believe that the occupation is morally corrosive, strategically shortsighted, and thoroughly detrimental to peace,” the letter said.
Underlining that the “international community has taken insufficient action in addressing this reality,” the letter went on to say that “Europe continues to support the occupation financially by allowing trade with Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”
It said: “It should be clear that continuing to sell goods that support the erosion of democracy in Israel and the denying of rights to Palestinians is unacceptable.
“As Israelis who care about the future of our country, we ask the European Union to ban the import of settlement goods in order to support a just future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
In a case two Israeli companies opened against France, the EU’s top court said Tuesday that food products from the occupied territories must be marked as such.
"Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied, where those foodstuffs come from an Israeli settlement within that territory, by the indication of that provenance," the court said in its ruling.
The letter was signed by former Israeli ambassadors Ilan Baruch, Eli Barnavi, Erella Hadar and Dr Alon Liel, former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair, former parliament speaker and head of Jewish Agency Avraham Burg, Israel Prize recipients Prof David Harel, Prof Yehoshua Kolodny, Prof David Shulman and Prof Zeev Sternhell, and photographer Alex Levac.