Palestinian official: PA pressing 50 countries to cut business ties with settlements

Mohammad Shtayyeh to 'Financial Times': PA petitioning countries to "withdraw investment or freeze activities”.

Abbas looking unhappy 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Abbas looking unhappy 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
The Palestinian Authority has reportedly begun a campaign urging international countries to desist from conducting business with Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
In a diplomatic bid to halt Israeli expansion of settlements over the Green Line, senior Palestinian economic official and negotiator Mohammad Shtayyeh told the Financial Times on Thursday that the PA's foreign minister had started sending letters about a month ago to petition 50 countries against contusing business activities in the settlements.
The PA asked the countries, which are home to 504 companies operating in areas over the Green Line, to "withdraw their investment or freeze their activities,” according to Shtayyeh.
“The duty of the government is to tell the private sector company, ‘Maybe you don’t know you are investing in something illegal’,” the Financial Times quoted him as saying.
“We wrote letters to every single country that has national investments in settlements, or countries that have Israeli companies with business in settlements,” he added.
According to the report, the Palestinians sent letters to governments in Europe, South America, South Africa, Australia, Japan and South Korea. The campaign was also aimed at "some Arab investors," but the Shtayyeh refused to specify which.
The PA also targeted Israeli companies, such as Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, that have ties to settlements and operate overseas.
The Palestinians were also urging foreign countries that issue nationality to settlers to advise them of their so-called "illegal presence".
"If you have settlers with double nationality, the country that is issuing or has the nationality of these settlers should notify them to tell them ‘Your presence in that territory is illegal’,” Shtayyeh told the Financial Times.