In the wake of a similar decision by the UK, the Netherlands has asked its retail chains to clearly label Israeli products made beyond the 1949 ceasefire line, as not being made in Israel.
This decision follows an EU recommendation for its member states to boycott goods from Jewish communities in that area, which includes Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Guidelines were published in 2012 after a meeting by EU foreign ministers that said that "the European Union and its members are obligated to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and agreements with Israel regarding products from the settlements."
On Wednesday a circular from the Dutch Foreign Ministry, placed on the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, advised stores to replace the existing "Made in Israel" labels with labels reading “Product from Israeli settlement (West Bank/Golan Height /East Jerusalem).”
There will, however, be no punitive measures for those retailers who choose not to comply and the Netherlands is not making it illegal to import products from these areas.
This labeling will affect chicken, cosmetics, eggs, fish, fresh fruit, honey, meat, vegetables and wine.
Ynet is reporting that the Foreign Ministry has responded to the decision by saying, "If the purpose of labeling settlement goods is to inform the public that the origin of the product is from a disputed area, then all products from all disputed areas in the world must be marked. Otherwise, it is blatant discrimination against Israel."
"Settlement products, like the products from within the Green Line are proudly blue and white. The State of Israel will stand united against any attempt to boycott its products," their spokesman added.
This could be a further step in what is becoming an international trend and a major concern to Israel. In August last year, South Africa implemented a measure requiring special labeling for goods which originate from Israeli settlements. These products will no longer receive the "Made in Israel" label. At the time Israel's Foreign Ministry said that this requirement was "totally unacceptable" and "blatant discrimination".
Ireland and Denmark have shown their support for a similar labeling initiative.