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U.S. rule change labels goods from West Bank area as 'Made in Israel'

By
Don Jacobson
Palestinian protesters oppose the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump during an event in Rafah in southern Gaza on  January 12, 2018. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI
Palestinian protesters oppose the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump during an event in Rafah in southern Gaza on  January 12, 2018. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 24 (UPI) -- The Trump administration has ordered that all goods produced in a key area of the occupied West Bank be labeled as "Made In Israel" for customs purposes, granting de facto recognition of Israeli sovereignty.

In an update to its rules published Wednesday in the Federal Register, U.S. Customs and Border Protection declared that items manufactured in "Area C" of the West Bank -- which makes up 60% of the occupied territories and encompasses the majority of Israeli settlements -- must be marked as ''Product of Israel" or ''Made in Israel."

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Goods made in areas A and B will identify "West Bank" as the point of origin, while those manufactured in the Gaza Strip will be marked as "Gaza," the rules now state.

Under the Oslo Accords, Area C was placed under direct Israeli military rule, while areas A and B are controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

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U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo first announced the changes while visiting Israel last month. The new policy alters U.S. practice since 1995, which has required products made in the West Bank and Gaza to be labeled as such.

"We will no longer accept 'West Bank/Gaza' or similar markings, in recognition that Gaza and the West Bank are politically and administratively separate and should be treated accordingly," the State Department said.

The European Union, meanwhile, continues a policy under which member states must label exports produced in Area C as having been made in the Israeli settlements.

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A United Nations Security Council resolution in 2016 calls on all member nations to "distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967."

The Palestinian Authority has urged the international community to boycott products made in the West Bank settlements, and on Thursday called the U.S. decision on labeling a "war crime.

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