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Ban of Settlement Goods in the West Bank

May 23, 2010

According to the Karama Pledge, the purchase of  settlement goods by Palestinians in the West Bank has been officially made illegal by the PA. Anyone caught dealing in settlement goods will be sentenced to 2-5 years imprisonment and up to a $15,000 fine. Youth supporters of the settlement goods boycott have been running a Door-to-Door Campaign around the West Bank handing out information about the boycott, including a list of over 500 banned settlement goods to avoid in the stores.

Surprisingly, Palestinians spend 3 billion dollars annually on settlement goods. Because of this, the boycott has already made a huge impact on the settlement economy–promting settlers to call this move “economic terrorism.”   Since the beginning of the boycott campaign, at least 17 companies in one of the largest illegal Israeli settlements, Ma’ale Adumim, have been forced to close.

The Israeli government claims that the PA is violating its economic trade agreements (according to the Oslo Accords), and the decision has put a strain on the proximity peace talks that recently restarted. However, the move to boycott settlement goods has been supported by the international community, and does not violate the Oslo Accords because the ban is not against Israeli goods in general, but just those produced in illegal settlements.

The main drawback of the boycott for Palestinians is the fact that it is also illegal for them to work in the settlements now–which means thousands of Palestinians will be unemployed. Adding this to the already high unemployment rate in the West Bank will be problematic but Palestinian leadership counters that this boycott is part of a larger, nonviolent resistance to the occupation, and that the effect on the settlements’ economies will be worth the sacrifices.

(President Abbas has just declared his home free of settlement goods, ha.)

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