Bahrain will treat settlement goods as made in Israel, the visiting minister said

Bahrain will not distinguish between Israeli goods made in Israel proper and those from disputed areas, the country’s trade minister said on a visit to Jerusalem on Thursday.

Speaking to Israeli reporters, Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister Zayed R. Alzayani said that all goods and services provided by Israelis will be treated as products of Israel, indicating that even goods from the West Bank and the Golan are not need special labels.

“We do business with Israeli and Israeli companies as we would with an Italian, or an Indian, or a Chinese or German company, or a Saudi company. There are no restrictions or special treatment or special rules. We have started a new chapter with Israel, ”he said.

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Asked by The Times of Israel whether goods from settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights were welcome in Bahrain and could be marketed as “Products of Israel,” Alzayani replied in the affirmative.

Bahrain Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Zayed R. Alzayani speaks to Israeli reporters in Jerusalem on December 3, 2020 (Courtesy Bahrain NCC)

“Without really going into details and boundary lines, we would look at Israeli products – or services, because Israel has a thriving IT and innovation sector and they may not necessarily give you a physical product, but IT solutions or consultancy – will become treated like Israeli, ”he said.

“So we don’t go into the details [but] we will recognize them as Israeli products. And hopefully, all Bahraini products in Israel will be recognized as Bahraini products. To be honest, I see no distinction as to which part or in which city or region it was manufactured or originated. ”

The Bahraini Minister’s position appears to be in line with new US guidelines requiring all goods produced in areas where Israel exercises civilian control, including West Bank settlements, to be marked as “Product of Israel” or “Made in Israel”. Israel.”

The policy was announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who visited the Golan Heights and a settlement in the West Bank last month.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens as Secretary of State Gabi Ashkenazi speaks (off camera) after a security briefing at Mount Bental in the Golan Heights, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, Pool)

But Alzayani’s statement seems to be in stark contrast to European Union policies, which since 2015 require products from Israelis in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan to be labeled as such, not allowing them to be marketed as products of Israel. Other countries, such as South Africa, have introduced similar labeling requirements.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, adopted in 2016, calls on all countries to “distinguish in their relevant transactions between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”.

Gush Etzion winery in the West Bank, July 18, 2019. (Gershon Elinson / Flash90)

Alzayani came to Israel on Tuesday as the head of a delegation of some 40 businessmen and officials. It was Bahrain’s second ministerial visit to Israel in as many weeks. He met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several cabinet ministers and discussed ways to expand bilateral trade.

The minister told Israeli reporters in a conference room at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Jerusalem that Gulf Air, Bahrain’s flag carrier, plans to launch non-stop flights to Tel Aviv by January 7.

“We are fully committed. The pace at which we move is quite fast, because we want to make up for lost time. We believe there is tremendous, tremendous potential, ”he said on Wednesday during a meeting with Netanyahu.

Later on Thursday, the Bahraini minister plans to visit the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan and attend a meeting of Israeli and Bahraini businessmen before returning to Manama.

Alzayani’s visit comes just two weeks after Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani became the small Gulf Kingdom’s prime minister to visit the Jewish state.

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