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Report: PA petitions countries to withdraw companies from settlements

Oct. 26, 2013 1:10 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 27, 2013 12:20 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority last month urged 50 countries to pressure companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements to "withdraw their investment and freeze their activities," a PA official said Thursday.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior Palestinian economic official and peace talks negotiator, told the Financial Times Thursday that the PA had written letters to countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia regarding 504 businesses active in settlements.

Shtayyeh said that each country's government should tell companies to withdraw from Israeli settlements "immediately" because they violate international law.

"The duty of the government is to tell the private sector company, 'Maybe you don’t know you are investing in something illegal,'" he said.

According to the Financial Times report, Israel says the PA's boycott campaign violates an agreement to "avoid provocative acts" throughout the peace negotiations.

Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians were relaunched in July under the auspices of the United States after nearly three years of impasse.

Israel's government has announced the construction of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements since peace talks began.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.
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