For the past two months, Palestinians across the West Bank have been boycotting Israeli goods by increasing numbers, as popular campaigns have taken to the street to promote the movement.Ma’an News Agency reports that, according to economic analysts, the campaign could potentially have a major negative effect on the Israeli economy, and buoy the Palestinian economy as well.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics cites the annual Palestinian consumption of Israeli exports at around $3.5 billion, while Palestinian exports to Israel only amount to about $600 million.
Director-General of Policy and Economic Studies and spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Economy, Azmi Abd al-Rahman, told Ma’an that ‘If applied well, the boycott could create between 70 to 100 thousand job opportunities in the Palestinian lands by providing billions of dollars annually’ — dollars which were otherwise being siphoned off to Israel.
Mr. al-Rahman suggests that such jobs could bring the unemployment status of the occupied Palestinian territories down by at least a third.
However, he warns that Israel is likely to set major obstacles to block Palestinian boycott campaigns, despite the fact that Palestinian consumption does not even exceed 6% of the total value of Israeli exports.
According to al-Rahman, some Israeli companies had even started to lower the prices of their products in the Palestinian market by as much as 20%, in order to increase their appeal.
Al-Rahman further stated that ‘some Israeli dairy companies are starting to suffer losses, forcing the Israeli authority to compensate them, thinking the losses are only temporary.’
He said that one of the most important obstacles for Palestinians is Israeli control over crossings and borders, as Israeli authorities now control all movement of goods and ‘even control the imports of raw material for the Palestinian industries from abroad.’
Palestinian professor of economy Nafez Abu Baker told Ma’an that ‘this is an economic war and it is no less important than a political war.’
Abu Baker says that many countries around the world are joining the boycott on Israel, adding that it is of utmost importance for Palestinians to boycott Israel, despite the obstacles they face under Israeli military and economic control.