Knesset Nixes Counter Boycott of PA , Grassroots Effort Begins
In face of the lack of official response to the illegal PA boycott of Jewish-made goods, a grassroots effort has been started to strengthen affected businesses.
A new Palestinian Authority law threatens a prison sentence for any PA Arab who buys Jewish-made goods manufactured in Judea, Samaria or the Golan Heights or works there. The law stands in violation of the part of the 1993 Oslo Accords called the Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government and the PLO Representing the Palestinian Nation [sic], known as the Paris Agreement of 1994, which calls for no trade borders between Israel and PA economies.
Though some MKs, such as Yaakov Katz and Uri Ariel of the National Union, have called for a counter-boycott, no official Israeli action has been decided upon.
MK David Rotem (Israel Our Home) of the Knesset Economics Committee says the committee held a meeting this week on the subject, but turned down his and other proposals to deal with the matter. “I said that we should tell our neighbors that there are no one sided boycotts, and I proposed we ban PA goods from entering the Israeli market, even at the risk of being assailed by the United States and Europe,” Rotem said. “I feel that we have to show that we protect our own manufacturers, but this idea was rejected."
"Committee members said that experts claim that the PA market is one of the top consumers of our goods and that we cannot afford to lose it. I replied that it is possible that we might be harmed temporarily, but that one sometimes has to sacrifice for one's freedom and sovereignty.”
“This is an unprecedented scandal,” Rotem told Arutz-7’s Hebrew newsmagazine. “No one is trying to deal with this problem in a serious manner. They are giving no solutions, while negating proposed ideas.”
The Yesha Council has demanded that the government impound PA funds that it holds and use them to recompense businesses that are affected by the boycott. Israel Manufacturer's Association head, Shraga Brosh, demanded that Israel close its ports to goods and raw materials imported to and exported by the PA.
Palestinian Authority inspectors are going door-to-door today with a list of businesses and products that may not be purchased.
In response, a grassroots counter-effort known as “Israelis Help Israeli Businesses” has been formed. “Each and every one of us must help the Israeli businesses,” the campaign states, “and purchase as much as we can from them. Needless to say, PA products should not be purchased."
Israel National News has translated and abridged the Hebrew version of this list and the Yesha website has posted it in Hebrew.
Among the affected businesses are the following:
Beigel & Beigel (pretzels)
B & D (juices, rice cakes, natural spreads)
Achva (halva and cookies)
Maya (spices, dry fruits)
Zahavi Yemenite Foods
Tzuriel Cheeses and Yogurts
Field Produce (nuts)
Aroma (fresh spices)
Nahar HaYarden [Jordan River] dates
Taaman (chocolates, canned foods, juices)
Achiya olive oil
Mei Eden mineral water
Rav Bariach locks and doors
Schick Design furniture
Fried blankets, towels
Palphot student aids, greeting cards
Bianco cleaning products (Nicole, scotch-brite)
Zro’ot Barkan (electronic product stands)
Supergum rubber, plastic, insulation
Brita water filters
Gazoz carbonated drinks
Progressive kitchen utensils
P.V. Ran – plastic and paper
Lipsky plastic piping
Amgazit gas products
Ay Tech computer accessories
Dr. Byte computer and office accessories
Intellinet security and marketing
Ahava mineral products
It is not clear how PA residents will manage as they have few comparable local choices and how they will deal with the unemployment that will ensue from leaving jobs in Israel. The Israeli economy is considered strong enough to find solutions for its businesses. The PA will have a hard time if it boycotts all Israeli products, as that will mean, among other things, cellphones, angioplasty, and much of the contents of it pharmacies.