Committee Set Up to Promote PA Boycott of Israeli Companies

February 13, 2015 12:19 AM IMEMC & Agencies News Report, Non-violent action, Palestine 0
13 Feb
12:19 AM

The Palestinian Authority had been publicly supportive only of a boycott of settlement products, such that this week’s decision represents a real step forward in the creation of joint work by PA authorities and civil society groups on a wider concept of boycott. The question remains, of course, whether the PA will continue promoting this boycott if and when Israeli authorities unfreeze the Palestinian tax revenues.

A Palestinian committee has been established to ensure compliance with this week’s decision by the Palestinian Authority to ban produce from six Israeli companies in the West Bank following Israel’s decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues.

The committee is comprised of political parties belonging to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, PA customs officials, civil society organisations and popular groups. Wasel Abu Yousef, spokesperson for the PLO political parties, reports that the committee represents an important first step in promoting and enhancing cooperation between the official and civil society levels on this crucial issue of boycott. Abu Yousef added that this committee will further play a decisive role in generating Palestinian-wide discussions about boycott and its possible role in filling the vacuum left by the collapsed peace talks.

Sub-committees are currently being formed in all West Bank districts to conduct specific work and follow-up on the local levels.

The Palestinian Authority announced Monday that as of 11 February it was barring entry to the West Bank of products by Strauss, Tnuva, Osem, Elite, Prigat and Jafora-Tabori. Shops will have two weeks in which to sell stocks of these products.

Member of the Fatah Central Committee, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, said Monday the decision came in response to a recent surge of Israeli violations, on top of which the takeover of large tracts of Palestinian lands for settlement purposes and Israel’s illegal freeze of Palestinian tax revenues, collected on behalf of the PA.

Israel has been withholding Palestinians tax revenues for two months now, in response to President Mahmoud Abbas’ accession to 20 international treaties, including the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Israel’s retention of PA’s tax revenues resulted in the inability to pay PA civil servant wages and pensions for the second month in a row.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Financial Affairs announced that it was able to secure 60 percent of public employees’ wages for January. Civil servants also received 60 percent of their December salaries after the government announced it received a loan from local banks.

Establishment of the committee and district sub-committees is undoubtedly a boost for the BDS movement. The Palestinian Authority had been publicly supportive only of a boycott of settlement products, such that this week’s decision represents a real step forward in the creation of joint work by PA authorities and civil society groups on a wider concept of boycott. The question remains, of course, whether the PA will continue promoting this boycott if and when Israeli authorities unfreeze the Palestinian tax revenues.

More regional news at AIC.

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