The European Union High Court ruled Thursday that Judea and Samaria are not a part of Israel, and Israeli goods made there are therefore subject to EU import duties.
The ruling determined that Israel has no standing in the Biblical heartland and opens the door to EU import duties on Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria, which would make those products less competitive. The EU has signed accords with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and presently does not levy customs duties from either.
The court said the EU’s agreement with Israel "applies to the territory of the State of Israel" while the one with the PA applies to "the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," according to Associated Press.
Thursday’s ruling stems from a German case filed by Brita, a German company that imports soft-drink-making machines from Soda-Club Ltd., an Israeli company based in Mishor Adumim, in the Binyamin region. Brita had asked German customs authorities not to charge it import duties, but the authorities rejected the request. On appeal, a Hamburg appeal court asked the Court of Justice of the European Union for its opinion.
Industrialists’ Federation President Shraga Brosh said that the EU decision to levy customs on goods made in Judea and Samaria is more political than economic in nature. He added that it would be better if the EU focused on advancing economic cooperation between Israel and the PA, instead of being dragged into "disputed legal-diplomatic interpretations," as he put it.
The court decision "surprised nobody," IDF Radio quoted a Foreign Ministry source as saying Thursday. "Israel regrets that the ruling legitimizes the campaign against Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria, and is a continuation of the political European campaign against the settlements," the source added.