Fayyad launches latest anti-settlement initiative

Published Monday 28/06/2010 (updated) 29/06/2010 15:29

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad launched the latest anti-settlement goods campaign aimed at clearing the Palestinian market of settlement produce on Monday.

The Shop to Shop campaign focused on clearing Palestinian supermarkets and stores of the produce, Agence France-Presse Press reported.

“This is a new campaign, and an important part of the efforts, both official and popular, to cleanse the market of all settlements goods by the end of the year,” Fayyad told reporters on a visit to a supermarket in Ramallah.

“This is also part of our efforts to bring about economic independence and self-sufficiency on the path to freedom and the end of the occupation,” he said, referring to his state and institution plan.

After searching the supermarket with a group of volunteers, mostly university students, and asking about the origin of different goods, Fayyad presented its owner with a certificate of compliance with the ban, AFP reported.

More than 66,000 shops across the West Bank will be inspected for settlement goods. The latest initiative follows the Door to Door campaign launched in May, which saw volunteers distribute pamphlets on blacklisted goods and advice on switching to Palestinian produce.

During its weekly cabinet meeting, the Palestinian Authority said 650 volunteers will participate in the new initiative, under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy’s district offices, calling on residents, traders and consumers “to take part in making the campaign a success.”

The Palestinian Authority announced the boycott in early 2010, which includes a ban on working in settlements and trading in settlement-made goods. Shortly after President Mahmoud Abbas approved a new law that would punish traders with up to five years in prison and hefty fines for selling settlement products.

According to PA Minister of National Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh, the number of Palestinians employed in settlements has declined by 25 percent since the boycott was declared, AFP reported.

The PA Ministry of Social Affairs announced in May that women working in settlements would be eligible to apply for alternative employment, in a bid to enforce the boycott.

However, the ban on working in settlements has sparked debate among Palestinian officials, with many describing the decision as hasty, given the rate of unemployment across the West Bank.

Internationally, the anti-settlement good boycott has gained ground, with an Italian grocery store announcing it would no longer stock the produce in its nation-wide stores.

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