Hassan Abu Libdeh, the Palestinian Minister of the Economy with the Fateh-led de facto government in the West Bank, told a meeting of the Nablus Chamber of Commerce Sunday that, according to his figures, Palestinian people living in the West Bank and Gaza spend over five hundred million dollars a year on products from Israeli settlements.These settlements are Israeli-only developments constructed on illegally-seized Palestinian land in the West Bank. Due to the Israeli control over the entire Palestinian economy, the Palestinian population is in the ironic position of having to buy food, drinks and other necessities produced on land that used to be their own.

According to Abu Libdeh, Palestinians are obligated to purchase Israeli products due to a 1994 agreement known as the ‘Paris Protocol’, which requires a free exchange of goods between Israel and the Occupied Territories of Palestine. Israel has never upheld its end of the agreement, however, and Palestinian goods continue to be refused access into Israel due to checkpoints, closures and restrictions. In addition, Israeli theft of Palestinian land has multiplied exponentially in the 15 years since that agreement was made, and Palestinian farmland and olive groves continue to be converted into Israeli assets.

Abu Libdeh told the assembled business leaders that after 2010, the Palestinian Authority would modify its terms of enforcement of the ‘Paris Protocol’, due to Israel’s long-standing policy of ignoring the agreement altogether. The Palestinian Authority official said that after 2010, only goods produced within the 1967 borders of Israel would be allowed into the Occupied Territories.

Since its creation in 1948 on Palestinian land, the state of Israel has continually refused to declare its border, instead expanding its state further and further onto Palestinian land using military force, then transferring civilians into ‘settlements’ on the land seized by force. Such expansion is a blatant violation of international law, but no state or international body has acted to stop Israel from its ongoing expansion.