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PA minister urges Italy to boycott settlement goods

Feb. 18, 2010 12:38 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 19, 2010 10:49 A.M.)
Ramallah – Ma'an – Palestinian Authority Economy Minister Dr Hassan Abu Libda on Wednesday brainstormed ways to educate the Italian pubic about Israeli settlement products and strategies to boycott them in the country.

A delegation, visiting the Ramallah Ministry of the National Economy headquarters, was lead by a deputy from the Italian foreign minister's office, a statement said Wednesday.

The group met with an agenda to strengthen Italian-Palestinian relations, and directly addressed the issue of a boycott of settlement goods, a statement said.

The cabinet of the Ramallah-based Palestinian government voted on Monday to approve a law prohibiting the entrance of settlement goods into areas controlled by the PA.

During the weekly cabinet meeting in Ramallah, ministers said they approved the legislation as settlements amount to "an attack on the Palestinian territories, and violate international law."

In a post-meeting statement, the cabinet added that "This decision comes as a basic step toward advancing the national economy and supporting Palestinian products."

On Wednesday, Abu Libda told the visiting delegation to return for the second Bethlehem Investment Conference in June, and to bring their pocketbooks. The appointed minister thanked the group for their country's contribution of 25 million euro to small businesses in Palestine, a sector that represents 85% of businesses in the region.

The Italian visit comes on the heels of an announcement from the EU, estimating a total budget for humanitarian aid projects in Palestine at 58 million euros, saying the contribution "is necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 2,000,000 people, taking into account the available budget, other donors' contributions and other factors."
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