Bethlehem mayor calls for cultural boycott of Israel

Victor Batarseh tells reporters boycott only way to get Israel back to negotiations; "It worked with South Africa."

Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh_311 (photo credit:
Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh_311
(photo credit:
In his annual Christmas message, the mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh, called Thursday for a boycott of Israel.
“We call for boycotting Israel culturally, educationally, in sports, economics and trade,” the mayor told reporters in Bethlehem. “This is the only way to make Israel come back to the negotiating table and make peace within six months. It worked with South Africa.”
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Batarseh said that this was “our message in the political field as Palestinians and residents of Bethlehem.”
The mayor said that the call for boycotting Israel was also the message of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
“We want peace, but we want a just and legal peace according to UN resolutions,” Batarseh said in his message. “The boycott is the only language that Israel understands.”
He said that there would be no peace in the world unless there was peace in Bethlehem and the region.
He also lashed out at Israel for continuing to build in the settlements.
Claiming that there were already half-a-million Jewish settlers, Batarseh warned that “within a year or two we won’t have land to establish a Palestinian state.”