Minister Shalom says Israeli government may sanction PA over boycotts 25May10 May 26, 2010

by YNet News -  25 May 2010

Washington – Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom threatened the Palestinian Authority with sanctions unless it rescinds its ban on settler goods.

“If the boycott continues, the government will have to make the right decisions,” Shalom said at Ariel College, in the Israeli settlement of the same name on Tuesday.

Shalom said he and Israel’s ministers in charge of the development of the Negev and the Galilee and industry, Trade and Labor Ministry are discussing the sanctions route. Shalom has suggested putting higher taxes on goods from the Palestinian Territories and compensating settler industries with money intended for the Palestinians.

On Sunday, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel would urge the Palestinians to cancel to boycott in honor of the renewed indirect peace talks which began this month. He also said Israel would work to block EU donations should that money go to fund the boycott.

Manufacturers Association of Israel Chairman Shraga Brosh said Israel should close off the Palestinian Authority’s port for imports and exports:

“Our port is their oxygen tube and closing it will only hurt them, not us. As far as we are concerned, they can transfer their activities to Jordan and Saudi Arabia. This way, we will show them that after their slap in the face, we will not turn the other cheek. …

“At the moment they are shooting themselves in the foot. They are aware of this, and have said during conversations we’ve held. The Israeli factories in the West Bank create workplaces for the Palestinians, which in turn support their economy. This is why it is appropriate to demand a high price, similar to what they are demanding of us.

The West Bank boycott of settler-made goods has ruffled feathers across Israel, especially in sectors sympathetic to settlers. The Yesha Council, a settlement-issues committee, has called the boycott an “act of hate” and “hostile.” The Palestinian Authority has also been accused of breaching economic cooperation with Israel, but as West Bank settlements are considered illegal colonization under international law, the international accord that ensures economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority does not extend to settlements.

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