Senior Palestinian Authority official Hassan Abu Libda said Saturday that the construction of a new PA Arab city will make the PA's goal of boycotting Jews in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem possible. Thousands of PA Arabs currently employed by Israelis could be employed in building the new city of Rawabi instead, he said.
Several months ago the PA announced a boycott of goods produced in Israeli cities in Judea and Samaria. PA leaders hope to force PA Arabs to leave their jobs with Israeli employers as well, but have met with opposition as Arabs in Judea and Samaria fear adding thousands more people to the unemployment rolls.
Abu Libda initially expressed little concern over the fact that the roughly 10,000 PA Arabs who currently work for Judea and Samaria Jews could wind up unemployed. “They should stop [work] as they are not any different from 200,000 other unemployed workers,” he said in May.
This weekend Abu Libda took a more pacifying tone, releasing a statement in which he said that up to 10,000 workers currently employed by Israelis could work building Rawabi instead. Up to 3,000 could continue working in the city after it is built, he continued.
The PA has asked for control of some Israeli land to build a highway near Rawabi. Israelis living in the region have expressed concern that the new city will put the PA in charge of security near a major highway, and could create other problems as well. Minister Moshe Kachlon termed the location of the city “scary” during an August tour.
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan has called to halt the project for environmental reasons, warning that if construction continues as is, unregulated, it could cause irreversible damage that will affect the entire area.
Abu Libda dismissed Erdan's concerns, accusing the minister of trying to “weaken our national economy.”