Israel: No Comment on EU Levy

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JERUSALEM, Israel -  Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor declined to comment on Thursday's decision by the EU high court to levy import taxes on Israeli products manufactured in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

The ruling stemmed from an appeal filed by the German company, Brita, which imports sparkling water machines and fruit syrup from Soda-Club Ltd., whose manufacturing facility is in the Mishor Adumim industrial park.

Brita maintains the products come from Israel and should be exempt from import duties.

But Germany disagreed, imposing import taxes on the products.

Brita appealed the case to the EU high court, which ruled in favor of taxing the Israeli-made imports.

The court charged that these products are not covered by trade agreements with Israel or the Palestinian Authority so they will be subject to import taxes.

Some believe the underlying scheme behind the ruling is to delegitimize products manufactured by Israelis in these areas, disallowing them to be competitive in the international marketplace.

Among the products exported from Judea and Samaria are wine, computer parts and equipment, produce, foodstuffs and cosmetics.

Pro-Palestinian factions in Europe have protested "Made in Israel" labels on produce grown on farms in Judea and Samaria.

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AP contributed to this report.

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