Land of wine and honey? Israeli settlers export to UAE, much to Palestinian chagrin By Reuters


5/5 © Reuters. Shelves full of wine bottles are seen in a visitor center at Tura Winery in Rehelim, an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank 2/5

By Rami Ayyub and Lisa Barrington REHELIM, West Bank / DUBAI (Reuters) – Wine produced in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank and labeled “from the land of Israel” will soon be available for sale in the United Arab Emirates. the leaders said. The Palestinians have condemned the export deal, saying the settlements are illegal under international law, a view shared by many countries but disputed by Israel. After forging official relations with the UAE last year under a US-brokered agreement that angered Palestinians, bottles from Tura Winery in the Rehelim settlement are now in stock in the UAE, said a Alcohol retailer there, although they didn’t seem to be on the shelves. still. The owner of the winery, Vered Ben-Sa’adon, told Reuters that the exports showed that the new ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates also extended to settlements, on West Bank land captured in a 1967 war and that the Palestinians seek a state. “It is very exciting for (the people of the UAE) to feel the peace process, to be part of it. When you sit in a hotel in Abu Dhabi and drink a glass of Tura (wine), it is to be part of history. said Ben-Sa’adon, 44. Tura, which also produces and has shipped olive oil to the United Arab Emirates, puts labels on its wine bottles that include the line: “WINE FROM THE LAND OF ISRAEL.” Tura said the term refers to an area that includes Israel and the West Bank, where settlers have a biblical claim to land they refer to as Judea and Samaria. The UAE declined to comment when asked about the government’s position on Israel’s settlements, but has said its relations with Israel will promote peace in the region. The United Arab Emirates has not said whether it would place special labels on the settlers’ products saying they were produced in settlements. These labels are required by the European Union. But under guidelines issued by the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump last year, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, said its settlement imports should be marked “Made in Israel” or “Product of Israel.” US President-elect Joe Biden has criticized Israel’s settlements, but has not said whether he would change the Trump administration’s labeling guidelines. OBJECT OF THE PALESTINIANS “It breaks your heart to see your Muslim brothers (in the United Arab Emirates) support your enemy at your expense,” said Nizam Abdul Razzaq, 57, a Palestinian olive and bee farmer in Yasouf, a village two kilometers from Rehelim. A representative for African + Eastern, an alcohol retailer in the United Arab Emirates, said they had Tura wines in stock, although they were not yet available on store shelves. The retailer also sells imported wine from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Photos posted on Tura’s (NASDAQ 🙂 Facebook page show that it held a signing ceremony in Dubai in December with FAM Holding, a UAE business conglomerate. A bottle of Tura wine can be seen on the event table. A representative from FAM said it had wine and olive oil import agreements with Tura and honey with Paradise Honey, a company in the Hermesh settlement in the West Bank. FAM imports into Israel have been approved by the UAE government, the representative added, without saying whether origin labels would be required. Matan Paradise, whose family runs Paradise Honey, said they had sent a “small first shipment to Dubai. I hope we will ship a lot more in the next month.” The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Finance, which has limited self-government in the West Bank, called the UAE’s purchase of settlement assets “a flagrant violation of international law … and an attempt to legitimize the settlements. in the occupied territory. ” Israel disputes that its settlements are illegal, citing biblical, historical and political connections to the land, as well as security needs. Around 440,000 settlers live in the West Bank among some 3 million Palestinians.