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PA applauds NGO call for settlement boycott

Nov. 1, 2012 1:16 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 5, 2012 7:47 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority minister of national economy welcomed on Wednesday a report by 22 non-governmental organizations calling to boycott settlements.

Jawad al-Naji said he hoped the report by religious groups and charities would have an impact on imports to Europe.

The NGO report, issued Tuesday, called on the European Union to ban products made by settlers in the occupied territories, saying a boycott would undercut their economic reason for staying there.

The EU is Israel's biggest trading partner but imports 15 times more from West Bank-based Israeli settlers than from Palestinians, the group of NGOs said.

The report urged clearer labeling rules to help consumers identify the origin of produce. Such rules already exist in Denmark and Britain.

But the NGOs said a more effective solution would be to impose a ban on all settler products, a move that only one EU member state, Ireland, has so far asked for.

The Israeli trade ministry said West Bank-produced exports accounted for only 1 percent of total EU-bound exports, which are around $70 million per year.

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