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      Netanyahu: The PA is Hurting Its Own People

      Netanyahu warns that the PA's boycott will harm PA Arabs. “We want peace and a better life,” he says.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 5/24/2010, 6:03 PM / Last Update: 5/24/2010, 6:17 PM

      Flash 90

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Monday that the Palestinian Authority's boycott of Judea and Samaria products and its attempts to keep Israel out of the OECD are steps that will harm PA Arabs, not Israelis. He spoke at a Likud faction meeting.

      "When the Palestinians take steps that hurt them, that harm their own populace and drag down their standard of living, or when they refuse to advance – for example, when they refuse to build water purification plants, without which they damage our shared aquifers and contaminate their own water supply – these things are not in the spirit of peace,” Netanyahu said.

      Israel seeks real peace, the prime minister said, peace that will include economic ties and a better life for both Israelis and PA Arabs.

      Unfortunately, he said, the PA is undermining Israel, even at the expense of its own well-being. “We see evidence of this trend in the way a senior PA member recently called to expel Israel from the UN.  [We see it] in boycotts, in the efforts to force 25,000 Palestinian workers out of their jobs,” he said, referring to the PA's call to PA Arabs working for Jewish employers in Judea and Samaria to resign.

      The PA's objection to Israel's participation in the OECD “stands out in particular in light of the fact that over the past year we have taken down hundreds of checkpoints to allow more freedom of trade and movement in the PA, and we have encouraged investments in the PA,” he said.

      In recent months, the PA has begun a campaign to boycott Jewish-owned businesses in Judea and Samaria. PA officials have confiscated Israeli-made goods from stores and citizens and destroyed them, and recently PA Arabs working for Israelis in Judea and Samaria were warned to leave their jobs in the near future.

      Netanyahu has often stated that the peace process should focus on economic issues, specifically, building a viable PA economy. “Economic peace” which improves the lifestyle enjoyed by the average PA Arab will improve the chances of reaching a viable political settlement, he has said.