The anti-Israel boycott by the Palestinian Authority took on wider dimensions Friday night when Arabs burned two Arab stores for allegedly doing business with Jews. The stores are located on “Zion Way," the route connecting Kiryat Arba with the area of the Patriarchs Cave in Hevron.
The incident is another sign that the PA boycott has fostered increasingly belligerent anti-Israel sentiment. The boycott began several months ago with the confiscation in Samaria of thousands of dollars of cosmetics produced at a kibbutz near the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, frequently viewed by PA Arabs as a puppet of the United States because he was virtually handpicked by the American government to head the PA cabinet, siezed on the boycott to boost his popularity.
He was pictured in PA media burning Israeli goods, and the PA several weeks ago adopted a new law that provides for up to two years in jail plus a heavy fine for Arabs who buy any produce or merchandise made or grown in Judea and Samaria. In addition, Arabs will be prohibited from working for Jews as the PA tries to stop construction on Jewish homes, where Arabs provide the most labor.
Israel has protested that the boycott is another violation of the Oslo Accords.
The burnings in Hevron prompted nationalist activist Baruch Marzel to comment, "The Arabs have proven once again that they want war and not peace. The leftists speak about co-existence with Arabs in Hevron, but they do not pay any attention to the majority of Hevron Arabs who do not want discussion, trade or any other connection with Jews. The time has come to stop living in illusions. There never was and never will be co-existence with enemies in Hevron."