Cabinet has approved the trade and industry department’s notice requiring products emanating from the Israeli-occupied territories (IOT) to be labelled as such.
This was to prevent consumers “being led to believe that such goods come from Israel”, government spokesman Jimmy Manyi told reporters yesterday, following Cabinet’s regular fortnightly meeting.
“This is in line with South Africa’s stance that recognises the 1948 borders delineated by the United Nations and does not recognise occupied territories beyond these borders as being part of the state of Israel,” Manyi said.
The Israeli foreign ministry dismissed the move as “unacceptable.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement that the move constitutes “a blatant discrimination based on national and political distinction.”
“What is totally unacceptable is the use of tools which, by essence, discriminate and single out, fostering a general boycott,” he added.
In a statement later on Wednesday, Inkatha Freedom Party spokesman Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said the decision was against South Africa’s national interests and “one must wonder why it was adopted”.
“Surely it was not adopted to fulfil international obligations, as there are no legal bases in our law or in international law to require that products coming from the West Bank or Gaza should be marked as coming from Israeli-occupied territories,” he said.
“It is not a matter of principle, for if that were the case products from Tibet should also be marketed as originating from ‘Chinese occupied Tibet’ and the same should apply in respect of the other 72 territories listed by the UN as occupied, none of which is referred to in Cabinet decision.”
This was obviously a “provocation aimed at promoting a consumer boycott of such products which will hurt the Palestinians who often produce them”.
The ANC was showing a policy dislike for advanced democracies and free and prosperous societies and felt instinctual political affinities with dictatorships, closed societies, and totalitarian regimes.
“We should follow the righteous path rather than stick with the wicked,” he said.