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The French government published regulations on Thursday requiring importers and retailers to label all products originating from Judea, Samaria, the Golan, and East Jerusalem. The regulations apply to the “occupied territories”, but include East Jerusalem and the Golan, which were annexed and are officially part of Israel. It is still unclear whether the regulations are legally binding or are just suggested guidelines.

The regulations state explicitly that those areas are not Israeli, saying, “”The Golan Heights, eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria are occupied territories and are not considered part of Israel. Therefore, in order to avoid misleading consumers, please mark products from those places and make it clear where they came from – and refrain from indicating they were made in Israel.”

It is interesting to note that while claiming the regions are not part of Israel, the regulations refer to them by their Biblical names. Judah was one of Jacob’s sons named in the Bible, and the region named after him is his eternal inheritance. The name ‘Samaria’ is derived from the ancient city of Samaria, the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. In the Bible, Golan is mentioned as a city of refuge located in Bashan.

Bezer in the wilderness, in the table-land, for the Reuvenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Menashites. Deuteronomy 4:43

Jerusalem is, of course, the holiest city to the Jews, mentioned no less than 669 times in the Bible, and established as King David’s capital city and the site of both Jewish Temples.

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The guidelines follow a European Union (EU) protocol established one year ago, that stopped short of being legislation, emphasizing that it was “in no way a boycott”. Nonetheless, the EU protocols require the 28 EU member nations to impose sanctions on anyone who violates the regulations and does not mark products accordingly. Though the protocol requires labeling products from these areas, it applies only to Jewish-owned businesses.
On Thursday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon released a statement, decrying the French regulations. Published in Times of Israel, the statement read, “It is unfortunate that France, which has a law against boycotts, is advancing steps like these which can be interpreted as giving a tail wind to radical actors and the boycott movement against Israel. Furthermore, it is incredible and even worrying that France chose to apply a double standard by [doing so] only against Israel, while ignoring over 200 territorial disputes currently ongoing in the world, including those taking place on its threshold.”

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Source: Israel in the News