U.S. policy on labeling Israeli settlement products has not changed, the State Department said Thursday. Last week, the U.S. reissued guidelines on the labeling requirements for products manufactured in Judea and Samaria. The guidelines, which have been in effect since 1995, note that under U.S. law, “it is not acceptable to mark the aforementioned goods with the words ‘Israel,’ ‘Made in Israel,’ ‘Occupied Territories-Israel,’ or any variation thereof.”
The decision to republish the guidelines raised some eyebrows, as it came several days after U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro criticized Israel’s conduct in Judea and Samaria and accused Israel of discriminating against Palestinians there. But State Department spokesman Mark Toner insisted Thursday that the reissuing was designed to clarify U.S. policy on the matter following reports of mislabeling.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection reissued guidance on their marking requirements,” Toner told reporters. “It in no way supersedes prior rulings or regulations and nor does it impose additional requirements with respect to merchandise imported from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, or Israel.”
According to an Israeli Channel 1 report on Thursday, the reissuing came in response to Palestinian complaints that some Judea and Samaria products were being labeled as “Made in Israel,” in violation of U.S. law. Toner appeared to confirm that report.
“Our understanding is that there were allegations of mislabeling, around nine or 10 complaints,” Toner said. “As you know, U.S. guidelines don’t differentiate between products produced in settlements or anywhere else in the West Bank.”
Israeli officials confirmed Thursday that there was no change in U.S. policy.