(photo credit: Associated Press)
Palestinian volunteers on Tuesday launched a home-to-home
campaign throughout the West Bank to persuade Palestinians to boycott
The campaign, the first of its kind in
the West Bank, marks the beginning of an “all-out war” against the
settlements, Palestinian Authority officials said.
year, President Mahmoud Abbas signed a law banning the sale of
settlement products in PA-controlled territories and barring
Palestinians from working in settlements.
The campaign is being
organized by a special group that was established recently with the
sole goal of preventing settlement products from entering Palestinian
The group, called the Karama National Empowerment Fund,
was established by the PA Ministry of Economy.
declared goal is to “affirm our desire and determination to rise up and
shake off the effects of settlement contamination in our Palestinian
cities, villages, and refugee camps, first and foremost, via replacing
settlement products in our local markets with those that are proudly
produced in Palestine, with Palestinian hands.”
will go to hundreds of thousands of homes in the West Bank and hand out
brochures that include a list of at least 500 products believed to be
manufactured in settlements.
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The weeklong campaign is aimed at
helping the Palestinians achieve economic independence, said Adnan
Husseini, the PA governor of Jerusalem.
“We call on our people
to boycott all settlement products because these settlements have been
labeled illegal by the international community. Our people are capable
of leading this economic war,” he said.
The PA’s mufti, Muhammad
Hussein, said that the Palestinian “war” on the economy of the
settlements was a “civilized” method created by the Palestinians in
order to achieve their goals.
Raed Dibai, coordinator of the
anti-settlement drive in Nablus, said that the launching of the
campaign on the anniversary of the “Nakba” was a “clear message that
our people have waged an intifada against those responsible for the
Also on Tuesday, PA policemen confiscated trucks loaded
with watermelons in some Palestinian cities after claiming that they
had come from settlements.
Some Palestinians, however, expressed
concern over the fate of thousands of laborers who would lose their
jobs as a result of the anti-settlement boycott.
Barghouti, editor of Al-Hayat al-Jadida, the PA’s official mouthpiece,
said the PA government should find jobs for the affected laborers. He
said that Palestinian businesses, which are expected to benefit from
the boycott, should be the first to absorb the laborers when and if
they are fired from jobs in settlements.
The Council of Jewish
Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip responded to the PA
campaign with an initiative of its own on Tuesday.
On its new
Web site, it called on consumers to combat the boycott by purchasing
products made by 58 companies with facilities in Judea and Samaria,
including Pillsbury baking products, Nature Valley granola from General
Mills, NatuR&D, Carmel Carpets, Brita, Supergum, Gazoz and Ahava
In a statement it released to the media, the council said the boycott
was a “hostile action” that must be met with an immediate and sharp
Such a boycott is an explicit violation of the 1994 Paris Agreement,
the Protocol on Economic Relations between Israel and the Palestinian
The council called on Israel to use tax money it collects for the PA,
to compensate the companies in Judea and Samaria for the losses they
will sustain as a result of the boycott.
It also asked Israel to close its ports to Palestinian imports and to
refuse to engage in proximity talks with those involved in the boycott.