PA calls to punish those dealing with 'settlement products'

PA cabinet leader says he will ask International Criminal Court to investigate the “settlements”.

Ben Ariel ,

Mohammad Shtayyeh
Mohammad Shtayyeh

Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Wednesday that he would push to impose heavy punishment on anyone who deals with the “illegal Israeli settlement products”, the Wafa news agency reports.

Speaking at the opening of an emergency cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh said his government will also call on the International Criminal Court to immediately start an investigation of the “settlements” as requested by Palestine some time ago.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a strategy for confronting the US declaration that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are not inconsistent with international law.

Shtayyeh also said, according to Wafa, that the international condemnation of the US declaration should go beyond mere statements to actual and immediate recognition of “Palestine” on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of return of refugees.

He called on the European Union and Russia to withdraw citizenship of “settlers” because their presence in the settlements is illegal.

He described the US position as another hostile move added to previous similar decisions such as Jerusalem and cutting financial aid to the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA.

"It’s a blow to the foundations of international law and the United Nations and cancels forever any role for this (US) administration in any current or future political track," charged Shtayyeh.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) was outraged following Pompeo's statement.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said the declaration “is null and void, condemned and totally contradicts with international law, resolutions of the international legitimacy that reject settlements, and Security Council resolutions, especially resolution 2334.”

Abu Rudeineh “stressed that the US administration is not qualified or authorized to cancel the resolutions of the international legitimacy, and does not have the right to give any legitimacy to the Israeli settlements.”

On Tuesday, Abbas convened the Palestinian leadership for an emergency meeting following Pompeo’s announcement.

The PA’s official Wafa news agency said that Palestinian Arab institutions will review the US statement and make decisions on escalating the popular resistance against attempts to eliminate the “Palestinian issue”.

The PA back in 2011 announced a boycott on products from Judea and Samaria and later extended the boycott to include goods made in the Jewish neighborhoods of northern, southern, and eastern Jerusalem.

Shtayyeh last month called on the EU to boycott “settlement products” as part of a strategy to force Israel to comply with international law.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat has made similar calls in the past.