PLO's Erekat lashes out at Europe for not supporting Israel boycott

Palestinian official says PA will no longer accept statements of support for a 2-state solution, "while granting immunity to Israeli crimes and systematic violations of international law."

August 17, 2016 13:18
2 minute read.
Saeb Erekat

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat expressed dismay at the European Union for failing to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel on Tuesday.

In an op-ed penned for Newsweek, Erekat said that the Palestinians had been "astonished" to see official EU representation at two recent anti-BDS conferences. Erekat claimed that the EU representative to Israel had both praised the Jewish state for its human rights record and stated that "settlement products are welcome in European markets.”

Erekat called on EU representatives, such as foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, to reverse statements to the effect that "no concrete actions" would be taken against Israeli "violations" of international law.

Singling out the UK's decision to criminalize boycott campaigns against Israel, Erekat said that the Palestinians would no longer accept empty statements of support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "while granting immunity to Israeli crimes and systematic violations of international law."

The PLO official spoke against "the latest Israeli announcement to deport or deny entry to foreign passport holders that are involved in peaceful campaigns against the Israeli occupation," an apparent reference to the government task force announced by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Interior Minister Arye Deri earlier this month that will work to deport activists calling to boycott Israel.

"The least we could expect from the international community, particularly Europe, is to take an active role in supporting the right to take peaceful action against human rights violations, rather than supporting, either directly or indirectly, the attempts to criminalize such actions," Erekat said.

According to Erdan and Deri, dozens of organizations in Israel collect information and use it to promote boycotts against Israel and make it more isolated.

BDS activists, the ministers said, visit the West Bank to provoke Palestinian violence and obstruct soldiers and Border Police.

Erdan, who is also strategic affairs and public diplomacy minister, said the task force “is a necessary step in light of the malicious intentions of delegitimization activists who act to spread lies and twist the reality in our region.”

Speaking at a Knesset Control Committee meeting in July, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel had made great strides in combating the BDS movement.

“The BDS movement is on the defensive. Now, they’re trying to defend their ‘right to boycott,’” he stated.

Netanyahu called BDS “an anti-Semitic movement par excellence” and a “hostile element,” and said that he didn’t think anything Israel does, as long as it exists, will change its boycott efforts.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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