Two pieces of news this week that signal growing global outrage over Israel’s colonisation program.
Twenty-four former German ambassadors urged the German government to take a harder position against Israel and to rethink its Middle East policy.
In letters sent to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, they ask for a more resolute stance against Israel’s settlement policy.
”Israel will not be able to keep on hoping to gain peace and retain its hold on Palestinian territories at the same time,” the group wrote in a position paper quoted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily.
Britain has acted to increase pressure on Israel over its West Bank settlements by advising UK supermarkets on how to distinguish between foods from the settlements and Palestinian-manufactured goods.
The government’s move falls short of a legal requirement but is bound to increase the prospects of a consumer boycott of products from those territories. Israeli officials and settler leaders were tonight highly critical of the decision.
Until now, food has been simply labelled “Produce of the West Bank”, but the new, voluntary guidance issued by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), says labels could give more precise information, like “Israeli settlement produce” or “Palestinian produce”.
Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which were conquered in the 1967 war. The British government and the EU have repeatedly said Israel’s settlement project is an “obstacle to peace” in the Middle East.