Britain asks E.U. to curb West Bank imports

Britain is calling for a curb on the import of products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

In a letter to European Union members, Britain expressed concern that produce from the settlements may be entering Britain after being illegally exempted from tariffs in violation of European Union-Israeli agreements, the daily Independent reported.

The curbs are a “practical step” toward halting the expansion of settlements, the letter said. The Independent says the initiative indicates the frustration of British officials over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The British government also is calling for more stringent rules on the labeling of such products in British stores, claiming that customers might think that a product labeled “made in the West Bank” is made by Palestinians. Some of the major British supermarket chains import organic herbs and other produce from settlements, and mark them as produced in the West Bank.

The Israeli government is aware of the British initiative and is holding talks on the issue, which has come up in negotiations with the European Union.

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