Hamas on Thursday welcomed the European Union’s (EU) decision to label Israeli products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, but said the real goal should be a boycott of all Israeli products.
In a statement quoted by the Ma’an news agency, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the group considers the EU’s boycott decision as “a step in the right direction”.
At the same time, he called for sanctions and restrictions on the export of all Israeli services and goods, not just those produced in “illegal settlements”.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) similarly welcomed the EU decision after it was announced on Wednesday, but like Hamas said it did not go far enough.
"EU labeling of settlement products is a step in the right direction but insufficient," the PLO's negotiations affairs department said on Twitter. "Products of a war crime must be banned not just labeled."
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also welcomed the decision, calling it a "significant move toward a total boycott of Israeli settlements, which are built illegally on occupied Palestinian lands."
Meanwhile on Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said it did not consider the labeling move a boycott.
The administration said the move is only a "technical guideline" despite the obvious assumption that consumers would follow the labeling when choosing what products to buy.
State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said, "We do not believe that labeling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott. And as you know, we do not consider settlements to be part of Israel. We do not view labeling the origin of products as being from the settlements as a boycott of Israel."