Palestinians spend $500 million yearly on settlement goods 20Dec09 December 21, 2009

Ma’an News Agency -  20 December 2009


Palestinians spend about a half billion US dollars every year buying products made in Israeli settlements, Palestinian Minister of Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh on Sunday.

Abu Libdeh, speaking during a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce in Nablus in the northern West Bank, was explaining the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) decision to crack down on the sale of settlement products.

He told investors, business figures, and local officials that his ministry decided that 2010 would be the last year settlement products would be allowed the Palestinian market.

But, despite some reservations, the PA will continue to abide by the Paris Protocol, the 1994 agreement that dictates that there are no economic barriers between it and Israel.

Goods produced inside Israel’s 1967 borders, he implied, will still be allowed to be sold in PA-controlled territory.

But he said the same should apply to Palestinian products in Israeli market. If this reciprocity is not observed, he said a special committee would be appointed to investigate the issue.

Abu Libdeh explained that elections for Chambers of Commerce in various Palestinian districts could take place in May.

For his part, the chairman of the Nablus Chamber of Commerce, Basil Kan’an applauded the Ministry of Economy for the strategic steps taken to help Nablus restore its role as a major component of the economy after long years of Israeli siege.

He said the ministry’s decision to boycott Israeli products indicated that the ministry would support national products. He also called on local producers to do their best to improve the quality of their products.

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