Several hundreds of people staged a protest march in Pretoria on Thursday against South Africa’s plans to stick “Made in the Palestinian Territories” labels on goods from the area.
Around 300 members of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Inkatha Freedom party marched peacefully and handed over a petition against the labelling to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, ministry spokesman Sidwell Medupe told AFP.
South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has argued that consumers must be informed of a product’s origin, as is common practice in other parts of the world, including the European Union.
Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the ACDP argued however that “the South African government must not involve itself in the political agenda of organisations and anti-Israeli lobbies.”
The government has issued a notice of intention to introduce “Made in Palestinian Territories” tags and will make a decision after a public consultation process that ends on July 10.
South Africa insists the move is not aimed at instigating a boycott of Israeli goods, but to make a clear distinction between products from within the borders and those made notably in the West Bank.
Israel’s foreign ministry has reacted angrily to the plans, describing it as racist and summoned South Africa’s ambassador to Israel over the matter.