Spiegel, By Christoph Schult
Israeli settlers living in the Palestinian terroritories often deceptively give their products a “Made in Israel” label. The European Union wants to move soon to end the practice and appears to be set on a collision course with the country.
The wine section on the basement floor of the Galeria Kaufhof department store in downtown Cologne has a good assortment of wines from around the world. Above the bottles, the shelves bear little tags showing the prices and flags of the countries of origin.
One cubicle has a tag showing a blue Star of David on a white background. At first glance, one might be led to believe that the wine comes from Israel. It even says “Wine of Israel” on the label. However, it requires a good bit of geographical and historical expertise to figure out the true origin of this €14.99 ($20) bottle of wine. The label says it is a 2008 “Gamla” Cabernet Sauvignon, “Produced & Bottled by Golan Heights Winery.” The address provided is “12900 Katzrin, Israel.”
But that address isn’t in Israel. Katzrin is a settlement in the Golan Heights. Until the Six Day War of 1967, the rock plateau stretching some 60 kilometers (37 miles) belonged to Syria. The Israeli army has occupied both it and the Palestinian West Bank ever since.
The international community has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over these areas, and the Geneva Convention outlaws the establishment of settlements within occupied territories. Nevertheless, successive Israeli governments have allowed colonies to be built up within them and, today, some 650,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
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