A supermarket at Maponya shopping mall, in Soweto
A supermarket at Maponya shopping mall, in Soweto. The Israeli foreign ministry dismissed as "unacceptable" a decision by the South African cabinet on Wednesday approving the placing of Occupied Palestinian Territory labels on imported goods from Jewish settlements. © Stephane de Sakutin - AFP/File
A supermarket at Maponya shopping mall, in Soweto
AFP
Last updated: August 22, 2012

Israel slams South Africa over unacceptable tags move

The Israeli foreign ministry dismissed as "unacceptable" a decision by the South African cabinet on Wednesday approving the placing of Occupied Palestinian Territory labels on imported goods from Jewish settlements.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement that the move constitutes "a blatant discrimination based on national and political distinction."

"What is totally unacceptable is the use of tools which, by essence, discriminate and single out, fostering a general boycott," he added.

He said Israel will summon Thursday the South African ambassador in the Jewish state.

Palmor said South Africa's move was without precedent, adding that "this kind of discrimination has not been imposed - and rightly so - in any other case of national, territorial or ethnic conflict."

"Such exclusion and discrimination bring to mind ideas of racist nature which the government of South Africa, more than any other, should have wholly rejected."

Earlier on Wednesday, the South African cabinet directed its trade minister to issue a notice requiring that products are marked so that buyers knew their origin is not Israel, government spokesman Jimmy Manyi told a press briefing.

"This is in line with South Africa's stance that recognises the 1948 borders delineated by the United Nations and does not recognise occupied territories beyond these borders as being part of the state of Israel," he said.

The plan has already met protests in South Africa and local Jewish leaders said Wednesday the community was outraged over what they called "discriminatory, divisive" measures.

"At bottom, they are believed to be motivated not by technical trade concerns but by political bias against the state of Israel. All attempts to discuss these concerns, however, have come to nothing," the South African Jewish Board of Deputies said in a statement.

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