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Europe Questions Validity Of Israeli Goods

Israel is under fire from the European Union's watchdog European Union Commission (EUC) and the 15-nation European Parliament for marketing goods as Israeli when they are in fact made in territories now being handed over to the Palestinians. Made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, they do not qualify for preferential tariffs that apply to goods produced in Israel itself. At a recent session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, representatives produced documents that showed Israel has been exporting wine, carpets, cosmetics, and fruit from the settlements -- and getting special customs deals from EU. Until now the EUC has been turning a blind eye to the Israeli violations of the tariff agreement. It is reluctant to sour relations with the Israelis while their government seeks a Middle East peace deal with the Palestinians and Syria. "But we cannot sacrifice international law and our own credibility to the peace process," says Luisa Morgantini, an EU parliamentarian. "At present, this means the European taxpayer is financing the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land."

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