Bethlehem man indicted for buying from settlement

Palestinian merchant charged with “carrying out commercial transactions with residents of a hostile state”; being held in PA prison.

In the first case of its kind, a Palestinian merchant from Bethlehem has been indicted for violating a Palestinian Authority call to boycott goods made in settlements.
The man, who has not been identified, has been charged with “carrying out commercial transactions with residents of a hostile state,” the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency reported.
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The man, who is being held in a PA prison in Bethlehem, was caught trying to bring wood products manufactured in a settlement into the city, said Amin Abu Akil, director of Customs Authority in the Bethlehem area.
He added that the man was planning to distribute the banned products in the Bethlehem area.
A PA magistrate’s court remanded the suspect into custody until the end of proceedings.
Earlier this year, the PA announced a boycott of all goods produced in settlements.
Economics Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh said that the PA government confiscated $1 million worth of products, including foods, cosmetics and hardware. The objective is to eliminate all settlement-made goods from Palestinian stores in 2010, he explained.
In March, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad launched the National Honor Fund, which will promote the availability of Palestinian produce in local markets and strengthen the position of Palestinian goods in global markets as an alternative to products manufactured in settlements.
The PA has also moved to ban Palestinians from working in settlements.
PA Labor Minister Ahmad Majdalani expressed hope that by the end of the year there will be no Palestinians working in settlements. However, many Palestinian workers continue to ignore the call.