[Boycott - Economic - Europe]
French protest import of Israeli settlement goods
8 March 2010
Thousands of French protesters have rallied against the import of Israeli goods produced in Palestinian territories.
Thousands of French protesters have rallied
against the import of Israeli settlement goods,
specifically by the company Agrexco
Monday's demonstration comes less then a month after the European Union's Court of Justice ruled that Israeli goods made in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank cannot be considered Israeli.
This means that those products cannot benefit from a trade deal giving Israel preferential access to EU markets.
The protesters, who came from all over France, symbolically gathered in the streets of the Mediterranean port of Sete -- a hub for the biggest Israeli food exporter, Agrexco.
Over fifty percent of the company, selling over 300,000 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables to Europe, is owned by the Israeli regime.
"The EU and Israel have agreed that Israel will get preferential import taxes on one condition, the goods should not come from occupied territories. But we knows Agrexco grows its products in the occupied areas and is still benefiting from tax deductions," Tannich Coupe Sud de France General Secretary said.
"This is a campaign of stigmatization. It's not an illusion that the economy will be demolished, it's the image of Israel that we are trying to attack," Israeli filmmaker Eyal Sivan who also took part in the event told Press TV.
France is one of Israel's top ten economic partners, a fact that has disappointed many of the French.
Israeli companies based around the illegal West Bank settlements manufacture a host of products including confectionery, wine, cosmetics and computer equipment.
Palestinians have long argued that since the settlements are not part of Israel, the goods made there should not receive trade privileges.
Pro-Palestinian campaigners have also regularly protested that European supermarkets stock goods with Israeli labels on farm products from the West Bank.
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