(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Foreign Ministry on Thursday lodged an official protest with South Africa
over its decision Wednesday to order that products from settlements be labeled
in a special manner and not carry a “Made in Israel” tag.
Ministry spokeswoman said that the ambassador, Ismail Coovadia, met with Avi
Granot, deputy director-general of the ministry’s Africa division, who expressed
Israel’s objections to the decision. The spokeswoman said the message would be
relayed to Pretoria.
The Palestinian Authority, however, welcomed South
Africa’s decision. PA officials urged all European Union countries to follow
suit and impose similar restrictions on settler products. The PA also called on
the EU to ban imports of settlement products.
Abdel Hafiz Nofal, a senior
official with the PA Economic Ministry, pointed out that South Africa was not
banning settler products, but only labeling them with a special tag so that
those who wish to boycott would be able to do so.
Nofal said that if
Israel chooses to forge the labels to avoid exposing the source of the products,
this would create a political crisis with South Africa. He added that the PA has
thanked South Africa for the decision to label settler products, and that the PA
was prepared to provide South Africa and other countries with information about
any goods manufactured in the settlements.
Israel responded furiously to
South Africa’s move, with the Foreign Ministry calling it a step that
discriminates and is reminiscent of the racism that South Africa itself once
endured. Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon went even further
writing on his Facebook page Thursday that “unfortunately it turns out
that the changes that took place in South Africa over the years did not bring
about a fundamental change in the country, and it remains an apartheid
Presently, Ayalon said, South Africa’s apartheid is directed at
Israel, as well as against striking miners in South Africa
Referring to the South African police shooting and killing 34
striking miners last week, Ayalon said that “instead of taking a decision to
mark Israeli products, it would have been better had the South African
government taken a courageous decision in regards to the 34 innocent miners who
only wanted to improve their work conditions.”
Meanwhile, Ma’aleh Adumim
Mayor Benny Kashriel – whose city is 10 minutes east of Jerusalem beyond the
Green Line – sent Coovadia and South African Foreign Minister Maite
Nkoana-Mashabane a letter saying Pretoria’s policy will ultimately harm
Palestinians earning their living in Israeli factories.
According to the
letter, more than 2,500 Palestinians are employed by factories in the Mishor
Adumim Industrial Park that falls under Kashriel’s jurisdiction.
factories provide the Palestinian employees with “a respectable income, and we
are on good neighborly terms with them,” he said. “Any damage to these companies
will cause their closure and dismissal of the Palestinian
Kashriel also warned that such a move may spark a counter
boycott of Palestinian products, something that could cause “economic damage to
trade in Palestinian cites.”
Kashriel urged the South African government
to postpone and reconsider its decision, saying it will “cause irreversible
damage both to the population in Ma’aleh Adumim in general, and to the
Palestinians in particular.”