Published today (updated) 25/05/2010 11:45
Bethlehem – Ma’an – President Mahmoud Abbas continued to insist on the necessity of boycotting Israeli settlement products, in the face of ballooning Israeli criticism, highlighting again on Monday the parameters of the movement.
The statement followed the publication of accusations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, alleging the boycott was one of several Palestinian “steps that in the end hurt themselves,” and soil the atmosphere for “economic peace” with Israel.
In a televised interview with the Egyptian Nile TV, Abbas reiterated his position vis-a-vis the boycott, saying, “We are boycotting goods produced on our occupied lands, and not boycotting Israel,” a stance he has underlined from the start of the government-backed boycott.
“I boycott someone who is occupying my land, this is not incitement. I would like to tell [critics of the boycott] that I will not incite against the state of Israel, neither will I demand a boycott of the state of Israel,” Abbas continued.
The president accused Israel of deducting 17% of tax revenues collected by the state on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and refusing to hand it over in light of the boycott, alleging the move violated economic agreements.
“These procedures will not force us to reverse or decision to boycott settlement products,” Abbas said.
Urging Netanyahu to recognize the peace option, Abbas reasoned that “the establishment of a Palestinian state is dependent on Netanyahu and the Israeli government. If they recognize that peace is an interest for them, it will take less than a week to find a solution,” saying the opposition to a settlement-product boycott was only a stall tactic.
Abed Rabbo: Netanyahu words just chatter
Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo called Netanyahu’s claim that a settlement-goods boycott threatened economic peace “just chatter,” during an interview with Voice of Palestine on Tuesday morning.
Abed Rabbo further slammed Netanyahu”s self-styled offer to ease restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank as one that “confirms the message of his allies on the right, that there is no willingness to make peace with Palestinians.”
The PLO official explained that by by promising to ease movement restrictions with one side of his face and giving the go-ahead for home demolitions and settlement construction in the other, Netanyahu has “proved that he is for the occupation,” and not for peace.
“Netanyahu wants peace to come alongside settlements,” said Abed Rabbo.
As the world proposes a political solution based on the end of occupation and a guarantee of the legitimate rights of Palestinians, he said, Israel suddenly began focusing on “economic peace,” a tactic Abed Rabbo called “diversionary” and an effort to “circumvent” the peace process.