Behind Closed Doors, Do Western Governments Support PA Boycott of Settlement Goods?

Alex Kane Jan 4, 2011

Nablus, West Bank – Do Western governments privately tell the Palestinian Authority (PA) that their settlement boycott initiative is “brilliant”?  Yes, according to Hitham Kayali, the general coordinator of Al-Karameh National Empowerment Fund, which was created to implement the Palestinian Authority’s initiative to boycott and ban settlement products from the West Bank.

During a meeting in Ramallah, Kayali said that many foreign countries agree with and support the PA’s program to rid the West Bank of all products made in illegal settlements.

If true–and I don’t take Kayali’s statement at face value–it could represent a hopeful sign that Western governments, most likely European governments, support concrete steps like boycotting settlement products as one way to promote the creation of a Palestinian state.

Some European governments–most prominently, Britain–have already taken steps to label products that are made in illegal West Bank settlements.  But there have been no public statements from Western governments explicitly supporting the PA initiative.

In April 2010, the Palestinian Authority issued a law banning settlement products in PA-controlled areas.  In May, a door-to-door campaign throughout Palestinian neighborhoods, shops and homes was begun to rid the West Bank of settlement products, and last week the PA announced that West Bank shops were settlement free.

The Israeli government has denounced the PA campaign, which has forced some companies out of settlements.

This article was originally published on Alex Kane’s blog, Palestine on My Mind.

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