The labeling of products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria would damage Israel, a report by the Foreign Ministry said – but it would damage PA Arabs even more.
According to the report, some 22,500 PA Arabs are employed inside Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria. These Arabs are among the highest paid laborers in the PA. The report said that on average, PA Arabs working in Jewish-owned business in Judea and Samaria earned 88% more than those working in Arab towns. In addition, they have social rights, including health benefits and pension rights, that are usually unavailable to PA Arabs.
Many more are employed in industrial zones outside towns, involved in manufacturing a wide range of goods. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, unemployment among PA Arabs is already around 20%, but would shoot up if the boycotts advocated by anti-Israel groups were to cause a massive rejection of goods by consumers.
Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are also the best – and often only – option for young PA Arabs to find jobs at all, the report said. Factories in Judea and Samaria employ PA Arabs beginning at age 17, while PA Arabs who work in the rest of Israel must be at least 26 years of age, for security purposes.
If the aim of the European Union is to assist PA Arabs, the report said, then the labeling of goods from Jewish-owned businesses in Judea and Samaria as being from “the settlements,” providing anti-Israel groups with the opportunity to conduct wide-scale boycotts, is the most counterproductive thing they can do.
“The labeling issue affects [PA] employment, level of income, youth unemployment, and the wealth of PA Arabs,” the report said.