Know More About Palestine

Wednesday May 26, 2010 5:20 PM (EST+7)
ANALYSIS: Boycott gives Israel a taste of its own medicine

Read more: Boycott, settlements, economy, settlement products, boycott divestment and sanctions

RAMALLAH, May 26 (JMCC) - Rachel Shabi discusses why the Palestinian boycott of Israeli settlement products is just a reciprocation of a de facto Israeli policy which has been going on for years, despite its signed agreements to do otherwise.

Things are heating up with the Palestinian boycott of Jewish settlement products. The Palestinian Authority has recently passed a law prohibiting the sale of such goods, with potential fines and prison terms imposed on those that flout it. The authority has dispatched 3,000 volunteers to canvass door to door in the West Bank, explaining what products should be boycotted and why.

According to the Washington Post, at least 17 businesses within the largest settlement bloc, Ma'ale Adumim, have closed as a result of the boycott campaign that took off earlier in the year, while the PA has confiscated $5m-worth (£3.5m) of settlement goods across the West Bank.

The reaction to all this in Israel has been a combination of bluster, threats and outrage premised on a theme of: how dare those ingrates.

Settler groups, who you can imagine may see a Palestinian sneezing and call it germ warfare, have decided that this boycott amounts to economic terror.

An opinion piece in Israel's mass-market daily, Yediot Aharonot, warns the PA that the boycott game can go both ways.

Uri Ariel, an Israeli minister (of the far-right National Union party), is already cooking up a counter-boycott and sanctions proposal. The Israel Manufacturers' Association has said that Israel should close its ports to Palestinian exports until the boycott is lifted, and Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has just chimed in and called the campaign self-destructive.

All of which has skewed a few key components of this scenario. First up – and as PA officials have been careful to point out – trade agreements between Israeli and Palestinian authorities do not apply to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, since they are defined as illegal under international law.

Second, Israel has for years been ignoring the very treaty that the PA is now accused of breaching. The Paris protocol trade agreements, part of the Oslo Accords, are supposed to guarantee the free movement of goods between Israel and the Palestinian territories – but in reality, that's mostly a one-way flow. Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks and other restrictions constantly thwart Palestinian exports to Israel, while the Palestinian market is flooded with cheap Israeli imports that stunt the local economy...

Read the full article at The Guardian...






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