#BDSFail – PalArabs continue to buy settlement goods
From Al Monitor, July 26:
The official campaigns that targeted ordinary citizens and merchants proved their seriousness and came bolstered by a decree issued in 2010 by Abbas, who can issue laws in exceptional cases of extreme necessity as a result of the Legislative Council’s inability to convene since the elections of 2006.
The penalties stipulated by the Law to Prohibit and Combat Settlement Products served as an effective deterrent, because all those who participated in or contributed to the trade or import of goods or services from the settlements were subject to a prison term of two to five years and a fine of no less than 10,000 Jordanian dinars [$14,100]. The same law proclaimed the establishment of the National Dignity Fund to combat settlement products.
But, it seems that the law was not deterrent enough, leading to 72 tons of goods being seized, according to the official, since the beginning of this year — with 15 cases being referred to the Economic Crimes Office. This means that there still is public and commercial appetite for settlement products.
In describing the situation, Mansour told Al-Monitor on July 22 that official enforcement of the ban against settlement products was seasonal, which explained why Palestinian markets are flooded with agriculture products from the settlements — such as grapes and dates, among others.
The primary shortcoming faced by the PA and Fayyad’s government emanated from their call on Palestinians to stop working inside the [Israeli] settlements, futilely promising to provide them with alternatives.
In this regard, Mansour said, “Despite the millions of dollars given to the PA by donor countries, it failed to provide a source of income to approximately 40,000 Palestinians who gained their livelihoods by working in the settlements.”
Working in the settlements goes against the national project to build a Palestinian contiguous state. But this is not the only contradiction faced by Palestinians, for the Palestinian people’s appetite for settlement goods and — even worse — their going to the settlements to shop, both embody the height of illogicalities.
Each month, hundreds of Palestinians visit the shopping centers owned by Israeli businessman Rami Levy in the settlements of Kfar Etzion in Hebron and Ma’alie Mikhmas near Ramallah, in search of the cheapest prices and offers.
Mother of five, Dalal al-Kuwaiti, told Al-Monitor in Ramallah, “The first time I went to shop from Rami Levy four years ago, it felt strange for me to be in an Israeli settlement mingling with settlers, but I got used to it.”
Kuwaiti shops at Rami Levy twice a month, spending 1,000 shekels [$280], or one-third of her husband’s salary, who is a PA employee. “I would need at least twice that amount if I were to shop at the local Palestinian market. There are always offers and sales on food items, which is unheard of in local markets.”
Despite the National Dignity Fund publishing censored photographs of car license plates and Palestinian shopper’s faces to deter them from shopping at Rami Levy, they continued to do so.