Israel seeks to halt Palestinian boycott of settlement products
Trade Minister Ben-Eliezer: The boycott could hurt many businesses in Judea and Samaria employ a large number of Palestinians.
The Manufacturers Association has asked the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry for compensation for its members who have been hurt by the Palestinian boycott against goods produced in the West Bank.
Ministry officials have already approached their Palestinian counterparts and international bodies to ask them to act to cancel the boycott, which they say violates international trade rules and policies.
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer raised the issue with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in a recent meeting.
Over the past few weeks, the Palestinian Authority has been promoting the boycott against goods produced in the settlements.
Ben-Eliezer said he views the Palestinian decision seriously, and in light of the renewal of talks between the sides, "the boycott must be lifted immediately because of the fact that many businesses in Judea and Samaria employ a large number of Palestinians," said Ben-Eliezer.
"An economic boycott is a base political tool that does not contribute at all to the atmosphere we are trying to create in our region."
Israel sold NIS 15 billion worth of goods to the Palestinians in 2009, while Palestinian sales to Israel were about NIS 1.5 billion, though only about half of each amount was actually manufactured in the two places and the rest was imported.