MK Uri Ariel (National Union) told the Knesset Wednesday that Israel should fight a Palestinian Authority boycott of goods from Judea and Samaria with a counter boycott. He said that if the government fails to respond to the PA boycott, he will “make every effort so that Israeli citizens boycott all Palestinian merchandise and fire [Arab] workers. Then we will see who has the upper hand."
The veteran legislator launched a debate in the Knesset following a PA announcement that it has established a new “Fund for National Honor and Might” that is aimed at destroying Jewish-made products and encouraging PA Arabs to buy “Palestinian national goods.”
“While [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu is building heaps of hope with his plan for economic peace,” MK Ariel said, “the Palestinian Authority is also building heaps – except these are heaps of Israeli goods that are being publicly burned in the PA. This is just another form of war, economic war."
"If a photograph of [PA Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad burning Israeli goods is not a formal enough statement, I do not know what is,” he stated. “Does Fayyad have to come to the Knesset and burn the goods here on the podium?”
Fayyad was photographed in January throwing Israeli products into a burning heap, in a public display held at the Arab village of Salfit.
“Not only does the PA abstain from condemning the boycott of Israeli goods – it even backs and supports it,” MK Ariel noted. “The supposedly moderate Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad partook in a ceremony in which such goods were burned and the PA itself appointed a person who is responsible for the campaign to stop using Israeli goods. The PA boycotts goods openly and we prefer to shut our eyes.”
MK Ariel told the Knesset that he has repeatedly inquired with Israeli government officials – including the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor – as to what they intend to do about the matter, but that they avoided the issue, saying only that the PA had never made an official announcement on the subject.
However, the government ministry apparently was not aware of PA economic minister Hassan Abu Lavda’s official announcement of the fund for pursuing the boycott of Judea and Samaria products.
“This step is part of our information campaign for the fund to…encourage the boycott,” he said.