Meretz labeling bill will hurt Palestinians, factory owners in West Bank tell Gal-On

The letter called on Gal-On to withdraw the proposal, or else

June 17, 2015 03:40
1 minute read.
Zehava Gal-On

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform. (photo credit: MERETZ)

Legislation requiring that products from the West Bank be labeled as such will lead thousands of Palestinians to lose their jobs, the Shomron Settlers Committee wrote in a letter signed by West Bank factory owners to Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On Tuesday.

The letter called on Gal-On to withdraw the proposal, or else, the factory owners said, they will have to start firing Palestinian workers.

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“Your actions could bring massive economic chaos,” the letter reads.

A copy of the letter obtained by The Jerusalem Post was signed by 15 such businesses from different parts of the West Bank, not just Samaria – Shomron in Hebrew – and industries ranging from textiles, to metalwork to carpentry. The factory owners asked that their names not be publicized, in order not to lose business abroad.

Shomron Settlers Committee director-general Sagi Kaisler said “it cannot be that radical leftists constantly harm settlers’ ability to make a living. This letter is a red light for those who try to harm settlements and citizens of the state.”

Kaisler added that he found it odd that Meretz is promoting legislation without thinking about the consequences for the people the party is trying to protect, meaning the Palestinian workers in West Bank businesses.

Gal-On rejected the NGO’s demands, calling the letter “an act of terrorism that holds thousands of Palestinian workers hostage.”

“Don’t threaten us,” she said.

“We won’t take responsibility for your fear-mongering.”

Gal-On added that the bill “comes from a strong world view and no attempt at blackmail will sway our MKs from the work we were elected to do.”

Meretz proposed last month, as it did in the past two Knessets, that all products be labeled with the city or town in which they were manufactured. While the measure, which is likely to be voted down a third time, would apply to all of Israel, the party said its purpose is to clarify for Israeli consumers “the separation between products made in Israel and those made in the territories it occupied 48 years ago and holds under military rule.”

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Meretz to withdraw the bill, implying that it is undermining efforts to prevent boycotts of Israel.

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