Palestinians ‘adamant about continuing boycott on settlement goods’ 12Aug10 August 13, 2010

by Barak Ravid  – Haaretz -  12 August 2010

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer

Palestinian Authority Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libda said Thursday that Palestinians would continue to boycott settlement goods despite Israel’s requests.

Abu Libda made his comments after a meeting with Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer.

Ben Eliezer had asked the PA minister in the past to put an end to the boycott, which calls on Palestinians not to buy goods from companies such as Shamir Salads, Kobi Burekas, Ramat Hagolan Dairies, Jerusalem Granola, Bagel Bagel, Mei Eden, Soda Club, Barkan Wineries, Ramat Hagolan Wineries, Rav-Bariach and Ahava Products.

Abu Libda said that the fact that Israel has continued to request an end to the boycott proved that it was successful and has influenced the struggle to diminish the settlement’s economic power.

In May, 3,000 Palestinian volunteers, conscripted by the government of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad through a group set up by the Palestinian Finance Ministry, went from door to door in West Bank communities explaining the reasons they should boycott settlement products.

Each household received a pamphlet listing dozens of Israeli products that the PA has identified as being manufactured in the West Bank and Golan Heights, and explaining that purchasing them bolsters the settlements and undermines the Palestinian struggle.

The volunteers also warned that anyone trading in such items would risk being punished.

Many of the volunteers in the campaign are university and high school students. On the T-shirts they were given is a campaign logo: a finger pointing at the viewer, similar to U.S. Army recruiting posters during the World Wars.

The list of items is quite long, and the pamphlet includes photographs in order to make them clear to the Palestinians.

The Manufacturers Association asked the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry for compensation for its members who have been hurt by the Palestinian boycott against goods produced in the West Bank.

Ministry officials have already approached their Palestinian counterparts and international bodies to ask them to act to cancel the boycott, which they say violates international trade rules and policies.

Ben-Eliezer said he views the Palestinian decision seriously, and in light of the renewal of talks between the sides, “the boycott must be lifted immediately because of the fact that many businesses in Judea and Samaria employ a large number of Palestinians,” he said.


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