Construction site of new Palestinian city
Photo: AFP

MKs: Boycott firms building Palestinian city

Knesset's Economics Committee urges government to act against Israeli companies giving in to demand not to purchase products manufactured in territories, east Jerusalem. 'Those building in Rawabi will not build in Tel Aviv,' says MK Eldad

The Knesset's Economics Committee on Monday called on the government to stop Israeli companies from cooperating with the Palestinian boycott on Israeli products in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.


The committee's chairman, Knesset Member Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud), plans to ask the attorney general to look into ways to stop the boycott on the part of Israeli companies.


MK Shama-Hacohen initiated a special discussion following reports that Israeli companies plan to take part in the construction of Rawabi, a new Palestinian city slated to be built north of Ramallah.


According to the reports, the companies have given in to the Palestinian demand not to purchase Israeli products and services from the territories and east Jerusalem.


"Before the companies' bulldozers start building Rawabi, the Economics Committee's bulldozers will make this move not very worthwhile," said MK Shama-Hacohen.


The committee demanded that the Civil Administration reveal the names of the companies which have given in to the Palestinian demands, and called on the government to come up with a clear policy against Israeli cooperation with the Palestinian boycott.


The committee decided that "the current decline is the result of a governmental vacuum in terms of the government's response to the Palestinian boycott."


The committee demanded that the government discuss the matter in its next meeting and make a decision on economic measures against the Palestinian Authority as long as it continued to boycott Israeli products. The committee stated that the boycott was spreading to European markets, where no distinction is made between Israeli produce from the territories and Israeli produce in general.


The committee reiterated the call of 48 Knesset members who signed a declaration calling on the government not to engage in any business activity with companies who have given in to the Palestinian boycott.


Cooperation as a basis for normalization

Adi Ashkenazi, head of the economy and research department at the Regional Cooperation Ministry, said the ministry was in favor of making the companies' names public and preventing them from taking part in governmental bids.


Gabi Bar of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said his office's legal advisor believed the government could not intervene and demand that the companies reveal their contracts.


MK Arieh Eldad (National Union) and Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan demanded transparency from the Israeli companies. Eldad stressed that "anyone building Rawabi should know that they won't build Tel Aviv."


He added that "any company with a political contract should know that it will be affected financially. He noted that the United States ended the Arab boycott on Israel with a law stating that anyone boycotting Israel will not be able to sign contracts with the American administration. "That's what Israel must do to the Israeli companies giving in to the Palestinian boycott."


MK Israel Hasson (Kadima) claimed that "the Palestinian Authority is allowed to fight what it believes is a political struggle in an economic manner. This resembles a condition requiring the companies building the new southern town to favor products produced in the Negev."


MK Shama-Hacohen told Hasson in response, "We cannot agree to your condition, as the Golan Height's must be judged just like Tel Aviv." Hasson clarified that the matter must be dealt on the governmental level and not by pressuring the companies.


Shama-Hacohen concluded by saying that he viewed the economic cooperation between Israel and the PA as a basis for normalization, "instead of dealing with mutual boycotts."


NIS 500 for name of company

Meanwhile Monday, the Samaria Settlers' Committee offered NIS 500 (about $140) to any person revealing the name of a company building in Rawabi and boycotting settlement products.


"In order to conduct an efficient battle focusing on the companies selling their people for a profit, we must know who we're facing," the committee wrote on its website.


According to the settlers, there are 18 companies whose identity is still unclear, "which must realize that any Zionist Jew with self-respect will not engage in business with them."


The committee called on anyone with information on any of the companies to deliver it through the website.


The settlers added that the construction of the Palestinian city was the most serious antithesis to the Zionist idea. "The companies taking part in the city's construction have committed to betray their settler brothers and not engage in business with them. This forces us to take all the available measures to expose them and let the public speak."


Yair Altman contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 01.10.11, 15:08
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