Israel – Palestine and underwear source campaign.

In recent years, the conflict between Israel and the palestinians has been fought on a battlefield of just a few square feet. This is the label of consumer goods produced in Israel’s occupied territories.

Last year, for example, the European Union instructed member states not to allow imports of goods from jewish settlements in the west bank to be labeled “made in Israel”. The European Union and the United States agree that reconciliation is illegal.

Instead, certain products must be clearly labeled as settlements from the west bank. That infuriated Israel. U.S. lawmakers condemned the move and considered legislation to fight back.

On fine print, the label deals with some of the most sensitive issues in conflict. It’s about who owns the land. To see where the tag problem starts, we will return 30 years to the experimental Palestinian underwear factory that started in the 1980s.

Then, as now, Israel’s farmers and factories in west bank settlements far outstrip Palestinian businesses.

However, Charles sharmas, a Yale graduate from the American family in Lebanon, went to the west bank to try to help develop the Palestinian economy. There was even a Palestinian government.

He wanted to figure out how to make good manufacturing jobs independent of the Israeli market or ownership.

“We will try to do things that no one has ever done,” said Shamas, 67, who lives in Jerusalem.

“You have to produce products of high quality and high prices,” he recalls. “So we say, well, obviously you have to be niche oriented, and you have to be able to export [if] you hit a high value-added niche.”

Former U.S. diplomat r. Nicholas burns, now a professor at Harvard University, later learned of Shamas and described the standard practice.

“The reality is that in the 90 s and 1980 s (Palestinian) products by Israel middlemen acquisition, and shipped from the west bank and gaza strip, Israel products and products to them.” He said.

Shamas wanted to change that. To make his point to western policy makers, he sees it as a logical extension of their own laws. He said that because the United States and Europe do not recognize the west bank as part of Israel, his underwear should be separated from Israeli products.

“The understanding of your own law requires what you do,” Mr. Samas said, telling western trade officials.

He said U.S. officials have found a rule that allows goods to be labeled “made in the israeli-occupied west bank.”

These days don’t seem like a triumph. It does not even call underwear, “Palestine”, not to mention the audacity of “made in Palestine”.

But for the palestinians, it is better than being considered Israeli. The label is seen as the takeoff of underwear. In the winter of 1987, Bonwit Teller was a collection of New York’s top stores. It advertises in fashion magazines.

The plant is now closed – it was closed in 1990 because of violence in the west bank and Israeli military regulations. However, the coat hanger and condole vest still hang in the old production workshop on the third floor of the concrete building, where there is a heavy metal door.

“What makes me proud is that this quality product makes it a top market label in the United States,” said Salwa Duiabis, a former production manager who visited the old facilities.

Burns called him a “pioneer,” and he directed his attention to “hidden problems.”

Fast forward to today, the label is a thorn in Israel’s side.

The head of Israel’s foreign trade commission, ohadkoen, estimates that Israeli settlements account for only about 1% of Israel’s total exports. They have reduced the number of Palestinian products.

But Shamas helps make the distinction between underwear labels still applicable.

In 1995, for example, in the Palestinian authority set up a year later, in 1995, the United States has changed the policy, and banned in the west bank and gaza “Israel” appears on the product, including the word “Israeli occupation”. They can now say “west bank” or “gaza”, but law enforcement tends to be lax.

Last year’s eu ruling called for a watershed in the special labels on Israeli settlements in the west bank. European officials say they are only telling the origins of consumer products, but you can hear Shamas’s reasoning logic – foreign policy applies to trade.

“What we hope to achieve in this way is simply to ensure that we comply with the legal standards that we put down,” said eu ambassador to Israel lars forbot-anderson.

The rules have just begun, but they have brought problems to Israeli settlers and farmers, David ayhayani. All attention, he says, makes it harder for him to enter European stores with dates and herbs.

Six or seven years ago, he said, about 80 percent of his crop went to Europe.

“Most of our products are now going to Russia,” he said.

The price is lower. “It affects us,” he added. “When I mean us, it’s the family, the children, the growers.”

Critics of the eu’s decision argue that it is actually only because the special labels are required to target Israeli settlements rather than other territories that are thought to be occupied around the world.

International law expert at the university of northwest Eugene Kontorovich and Israel Kohelet policy BBS wrote articles about the problem, he said that Europe is using the product label of the technical problems to Israel’s political pressure.

“The reason why europeans are doing this, rather than taking overt political measures, is that overt political measures require a consensus of the eu, they don’t,” he said.

Critics also point to the impact on palestinians in Israeli farms and factories working in the west bank. The most recent example is the dispute over the location of Sodastream drinks manufacturers.

While the overall economic impact remains small, it is technically a matter of how products are flagged, but Israel says these effects are part of the economic pressure on the country.

“The label is just part of the big plan,” said Mr. Cohen of the Israel foreign trade commission.

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