US to label all of West Bank Area C goods 'made in Israel'

"Goods produced in some areas of the West Bank shall be marked as products of  “West Bank” and goods produced in Gaza shall be marked  as products of  "Gaza."

US SECRETARY of State Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan, visit Psagot Winery in the hills north of Jerusalem, last month. (photo credit: MATTY STERN/US EMBASSY JERUSALEM/FLASH90)
US SECRETARY of State Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan, visit Psagot Winery in the hills north of Jerusalem, last month.
The Trump administration granted de facto recognition of West Bank Area C sovereignty when it issued labeling requirement that all goods produced in that region, either of Israeli or Palestinian origin, should be labeled "Made in Israel."
On Wednesday, the US Customs and Border Protection Agency published a notice to this effect to ensure that "country of origin markings for Israeli and Palestinian goods are consistent with the United States’ foreign policy approach."
US Customs stated that "producers within certain areas designated in the Oslo Accords and the Hebron Protocol must mark their goods as ‘Israel,’ ‘Product of Israel’ or ‘Made in Israel’ when exporting those goods to the United States."
The 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords which it referenced divided the West Bank into three sections: areas A, B and C. It placed Areas A and B under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, while Area C was placed under Israeli military rule, including oversight of Israeli and Palestinian civilian life.
The wording of the customs notice would indicate that on issues of trade, Washington recognizes that Area C, which makes up 60% of the West Bank, can be considered Israeli territory for customs purposes, even though it is outside the sovereign boundaries of the state. The notice further indicated that areas A and B would be designated as the West Bank. Gaza would be marked as Gaza, according to customs.
"Goods produced in areas of the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority maintains relevant authorities shall be marked as products of  “West Bank” – and goods produced in Gaza shall be marked as products of  “Gaza," the agency stated, adding that the policy should go into effect within 90 days.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo first announced that the US had shifted its policy with regard to the labeling of goods produced in the West Bank, which had not allowed for Israeli settlement products to be marked as being "Made in Israel."
While on a visit to the Jewish state, he said that goods produced in West Bank settlements would be labeled that way.
On Wednesday, US customs issued an order that transformed his declaration into policy. It did so on December 23, the anniversary of the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which mandated that all UN member states must distinguish in their dealings between sovereign and non-sovereign Israeli territory.
The Obama administration abstained from that vote. The US is one of five members of the 15-member UN Security Council that have veto power over any resolution. The Obama administration, which until that moment had not allowed the council to pass any anti-Israel resolutions, chose to abstain rather than veto the text, by way of attempting to make its mark on the parameters for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Since taking power just weeks later, the Trump administration has done its best to lessen the impact of that resolution, which promotes a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
THE TRUMP peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict dismissed the pre-1967 lines as the possible borders of a Palestinian state. The plan it unveiled last January included a map that divided Area C in half. It designated the half of Area C where all Israeli settlements are located for eventual Israeli sovereignty, and half for a future Palestinian state.
The customs notice goes well beyond the borders of the Trump map and allows for all of Area C to be considered Israeli.
The US and Israel suspended plans to annex half of Area C, which is the equivalent of 30% of the West Bank, in exchange for normalization deals with the UAE and Bahrain.
Since Trump's electoral loss in November, his administration has taken steps to shore up Israel's hold over its settlements in Area C.
The Trump administration's policy differs from that of the EU, which for close to two decades has differentiated between Israeli products produced over the pre-1967 lines and those produced within those lines, exempting them from its free trade understanding with Israel.
In 2015, the EU published guidelines advising its member states to place consumer labels on Jewish products produced over the pre-1967 lines to ensure that customers understood that these items were not produced in Israel.
The Palestinian Authority has gone one step further and called on the international community to boycott such products.
The UN Human Rights Council has advised that those who participate in the production of such products could be engaged in a war crime. In February, it published a black list of companies engaging in business with Jewish Israeli entities located outside the pre-1967 lines.