SA wants 'Made in Palestine' labels

2012-05-19 22:47
Johannesburg - South Africa is planning to require "Made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories" labels on products from the region in place of "Made in Israel" labels, the trade ministry said on Saturday.

"For now, there is no decision but people should know that South Africa recognises Israel inside the 1948 UN borders," Macdonald Netshitenzhe, the trade ministry's director for trade policies and legislations, said.

"Now coming to the issue of Palestine and Israel, a product from Israel has to be manufactured or produced within the borders of 1948.

Under the 1948 boundaries, territories occupied after 1967 such as the Gaza Strip are not included.

"Therefore for the goods or vegetables which are grown in the area where Israel invaded other Arab countries, South Africa says, you better say these products are grown in Palestine or Occupied Palestinian Territories," Netshitenzhe added.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Wednesday the move was aimed at helping "South Africans who do not support Israel, but who in fact do support the Palestinians, to identify those products".

Israel's wrath

"This doesn't, however, mean any kind of boycott of Israeli products," he said, in remarks quoted by South African news agency SAPA.

Israel's foreign ministry reacted angrily to the news, with spokesperson Yigal Palmor telling AFP that South Africa's ambassador to Israel would be summoned for an explanation in the coming days.

"This is not a political objection to settlements, rather the act of singling out a state by a special marking system based on national-political criteria. Therefore, it is by essence a racist move," Palmor said.

"It is shocking to think that South Africa, of all countries, would display such callousness, and is blindly marching down the slippery slope of racism."

Read more on:    rob davies  |  gaza strip  |  middle east peace
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