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Arab Merchants Slap ‘Made in Palestine’ Labels on Jewish Settlement Produce Exported to EU

dates

The Anadolu News agency reports on a new methods Jewish farmers in the disputed territories have devised to overcome consumer boycotts and all other manner of resistance to their products.

According to MEM, merchants in the town of Ariha, in the northern part of the West Bank, regularly receive 30 tons of dates that were grown in nearby Jewish settlements, which are shipped to any of several of local packaging factories.

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In each factory, Palestinian workers package the dates in bags that read “Dates of the Holy Land” in both Arabic and English, alongside the statement “Made in Palestine.” The latter clears the fruits for consumption in the Arab states as well as in Europe.

In early 2014, the European Union announced its decision to boycott economic, scientific and academic relations with institutions, factories and farms that have any investments or presence in the Jewish settlements of the West Bank.

The false labeling process was initiated by Jewish settlers, who created an entire cottage industry that produces nothing except packaging that enable a large variety of products grown and made in Israeli settlements to be sold in European Union countries. Last year, the EU decided to ban products from the Jewish settlements of the West Bank.

Anadolu cites a statement released by the Palestinian national economy minister, saying that the ministry has discovered dozens of tons of produce coming from the settlements in this manner.

Khaldoun, 45, a local merchant, told Anadolu: “We do trade in dates of the settlements, which we buy at prices that are 40 per cent lower than the market price. And in order to be able to market the dates, we clean and re-package them and choose the best in preparation for selling them in the local market, as well as the Arab and European markets.”

Khaldoun estimated the annual volume of his date sales at 350 tons, pointing out that neighboring Palestinian merchants are busy repackaging Jewish produce such as citrus fruits, nuts, and medical herbs.

Another local merchant, Hassan, said his company that is registered officially with the Palestinian Authority. The produce is inspected to make sure it matches European Union specifications and standards. It is then exported under the “Made in Palestine” label.

According to Anadolu, the Palestinian Authority enjoys customs exemptions and export-related facilities in trade with European Union countries, and so Jewish growers are benefiting not only from the identity cleansing effect of the “Palestine” label, but also from the marketing advantages it offers.

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