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FM lodges protest with S. African envoy over labeling

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The Foreign Ministry on Thursday lodged an official protest with South Africa over its decision Wednesday to order that products from the settlements be labeled in a special manner, and not carry a "Made in Israel" tag.
A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the ambassador, Ismail Coovadia, met with Avi Granot, the deputy director-general of the ministry\’s Africa division, who expressed Israel\’s objections to the decision. The spokeswoman said the message would be relayed to Pretoria.
The move elicited a furious response form Israel, with the foreign ministry calling it a step that discriminates and is reminiscent of the racism that South Africa once suffered itself.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon went even further, saying on his Facebook page Thursday that "unfortunately it turns out that the changes that took place in South Africa over the years did not bring about a fundamental change in the country, and it remains an apartheid country."
Presently, Ayalon said, South Africa\’s apartheid is directed at Israel, as well as against striking miners in South Africa itself.
Referring to the South Africa police\’s shooting to death of 34 striking miners last week, Ayalon said that "instead of taking a decision to mark Israeli products, it would have been better had the South African government taken a courageous decision in regards to the 34 innocent miners who only wanted to improve their work conditions."
Meanwhile, Ma\’ale Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel, whose city is 10 minutes outside of Jerusalem beyond the Green Line, sent Coovadia and South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane a letter saying Pretoria\’s policy will ultimately harm Palestinians earning their living in Israeli factories.
According to the letter, more than 2,500 Palestinians are employed by factories in the Mishor Adumim Industrial park which falls under his jurisdiction.
Those factories provide the Palestinian employees with "a respectable income, and we are on good neighborly terms with them," he said. "Any damage to these companies will cause their closure and dismissal of the Palestinian workers."
Kashriel also warned that such a move may spark a counter boycott of Palestinian products, something that could cause "economic damage to trade in Palestinian cites."
Kashriel urged the South African government to postpone and reconsider its decision, saying it will "cause irreversible damage both to the population in Ma\’ale Adumim in general, and to the Palestinians in particular."

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