Photo: Ori Porat
Yasser Abd Rabbo
Photo: Ori Porat

Palestinians denounce 'boycott bill'

PLO official Yasser Abd Rabbo says if bill placing sanctions on those who boycott Israel passes Knesset vote, Quartet announcement regarding renewal of negotiations is as good as void

PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Yasser Abd Rabbo commented on the "boycott bill" Monday warning that if it passes second and third readings at the Knesset plenum "the content of an impending Quartet announcement regarding the possible renewal of negotiations will become irrelevant."


Speaking to Ynet, Abd Rabbo, a senior Palestinian negotiator, noted that "the bill will turn settlements into sacred places and whoever comes near them will be fined. What kind of negotiations and solutions can we talk about then?



"One might as well tear apart the Quartet's announcement if the bill is passed," he added.

It is estimated that the Quartet declaration will support United States President Barack Obama's speech, and push for negotiations based on 1967 lines.


The Quartet members – US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations – are scheduled to meet in Washington Monday to discuss the Palestinian statehood bid.


'Leadership failure'

The Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Shaul Mofaz accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of placing responsibility on military echelons ahead of September.


"You can't say the Quartet will come up with a solution and then we will think of a response," Mofaz said during a committee meeting attended by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.


"The political echelon is mistaken if it thinks the right solution to the September events is a military one. We are facing political, security and perhaps economic chaos. There is still time to put something on the table, but we lack the necessary leadership to promote the subject," he said.


Mofaz noted that the prime minister is the one carrying full and direct responsibility. "It is a leadership failure, which resembles that of 1973, and we are heading there with our eyes wide shut."


Knesset Member Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), who initiated the bill, announced Monday morning that the "boycott bill" will be voted on by the Knesset plenum on Monday despite previous reports suggesting it will be postponed.


It was reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the Knesset vote which was set to be put through its second and third reading, be postponed to avoid presenting Israel in a negative light as the Quartet gears to meet for a crucial discussion over the intention of the Palestinian Authority to seek UN recognition for a Palestinian state.


But Coalition elements claimed that Netanyahu had told MK Elkin, who initiated the bill, that there was no problem in putting it up for a vote. "There is no change. Chances are the vote will be held and a final decision will be made in the morning," Elkin said. The PM's Office said in response: "The issue is being checked by all relevant parties."


The bill, which is backed by the Cabinet, states that any boycott against Israel or any group located within its territory, including Judea and Samaria, will be labeled a civil offense and its initiators will be subject to litigation.



פרסום ראשון: 07.11.11, 13:41
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