Raise supermarkets' awareness about Israeli settlement goodsBritish and Irish ret≠ailers could be undermining efforts for peace in Israel and Palestine by selling goods produced in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories including the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Settlements are Israeli civilian areas situated in territories occupied by Israel in 1967. They are illegal under international law and have been severely criticised by the United Nations and by numerous governments including those of the UK and Ireland. Various UN and human rights orga≠nisations' reports have shown that the presence of these settlements severely impairs the social and economic life of≠ Palestinian communities.
ECCR fully recognises the right of Israel to peace within its pre-1967 borders including the right to trade internationally with produce from within those borders.
International trade in settlement goods helps to bolster settlement economies and helps such settlements become financially viable and more permanent entities. This hinders attempts to bring a just peace to the region based on international law.
ECCR has been in dialogue with ten British and Irish supermarket chains to highlight concerns about Israeli settlement goods. We have been asking them whether or not they source settlement goods and, if they do source them, how they label them. We also want to know what mechanisms supermarkets have to distinguish between goods produced in settlements and those produced within Israel's pre-1967 borders, to which churchesí concerns do not apply.
Most of the major UK supermarkets have now stopped sourcing fresh fruit and vegetables from settlements, although some still appear to source a few manufactured and processed goods from the occupied Palestinian territories. Of the Irish supermarkets, only the Musgrave Group appears to have any policy on this issue.
What you can do:
Avoid buying settlement goods: Many ECCR members and others choose not to buy goods that originate in the settlements. ECCR and Quaker Peace & Social Witness have provided a guide to help you identify these goods: Avoiding Israeli settlement goods.
Raise awareness: Investors and customers can help raise awareness of the issue by contacting supermarkets and drawing their attention to churches' concerns about settlement goods.
- Where the company's sourcing policy is unknown, ask them to confirm whether or not they stock settlement goods and if they do how they label them.
- Where a company has adopted a policy of not sourcing settlement goods, congratulate them on this.
- Ask companies that sell settlement products to reconsider their sourcing policy.
- Find supermarket contact details ≠here, together with information about their known policies and practices.
- Use ECCR's model letter for investors or customers as appropriate as a basis for your own letter; adapt this if you can, because companies are more likely to give careful consideration to individually written letters.
- ECCR's guide for faith communities on Investment and Engaging with Companies gives advice on how investors can raise concerns directly with companies or ask fund manager to discuss issues with companies on their behalf.
- Send ECCR copies of any correspondence and/or let us know about any dialogue you have with companies on this issue. Email Suzanne Ismail.
- Find out more about this issue.