Hope is being boycotted

Why is Fayyad burning Israeli products?

By DALIA ITZIK
June 12, 2010 19:14
2 minute read.
Fayyad burns products from Jewish settlements

fayyad burn israeli products fire 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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It is generally known that there is nothing like a good photo op – an opportunity that must not be missed – to build a politician’s image.

Some visit the market, some visit factories, hospitals or kindergartens, and it seems that there are even some who burn Israeli products.

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The person who chose this original photo opportunity was none other than Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who was photographed tossing Israeli products into a large bonfire.

The PA prime minister did not choose to be photographed next to children, nor among factory workers, nor at a hospital, but while burning Israeli-made products. It is an act that involves more than a small degree of incitement against a country with whom, so he claims, he wishes to establish peaceful and neighborly relations.

THIS PHOTOGRAPH of Fayyad was not by chance: The PA government has been running an aggressive campaign over recent months against products that originate in industrial areas beyond the Green Line.

This is not a recommendation or an expression of his opinion, but rather a calculated and aggressive political step that, through incitement, is meant to assist the PA government in amplifying political power.

This step includes not only the media-documented burning of Israeli products, but also the boycott of these products from stores, the seizure of trucks with these goods and even threats of imprisonment against those who dare to engage in the trading of such products.



It is as if they were criminals or drug dealers, at the very least.

The objective of the boycott is not an economic one. The boycott is a political act, by which the PA wishes to compete with Hamas for public support, and does so using Hamas tools of incitement and provocation.

Instead of leading the Palestinian public and advocating for coexistence, the heads of the PA are being goaded by radicals into performing completely useless deeds, which only serve to increase hostility.

The economies of Israel and the PA are highly interlinked and will remain so even when an arrangement is reached based on the principle of two states for two peoples.

Some 25,000 Palestinians employed in Israeli factories beyond the Green Line have no other alternative employment. If their government succeeds in destabilizing their employers, they will be left with no income.

Israeli factories also benefit from their ability to penetrate the Palestinian markets, which over this recent period have greatly developed, thanks to economic and security cooperation with Israel.

INSTEAD OF instigating a boycott, channels of cooperation should be found between Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs, and yes, there is room to encourage Palestinian exports to Israel and increased Israeli consumption of products and goods originating in PA territory.

Particularly now, as proximity talks develop, one might expect the Palestinians to make efforts to calm things down, to strengthen relations between the two nations and not to be dragged into a campaign of incitement.

The economy should be the key to cooperation between institutions and peoples, a cooperation that will constitute the basis for living together, which, like it or not, we will have to do, even after the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The writer is chairperson of the Kadima Knesset faction.

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