Palestine boycott hitting Israel's economy; Israel launches West Bank land grab

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Palestinian boycott hitting Israel's economy

In the last two months, Palestinians across the West Bank have begun heeding calls to boycott Israeli goods in increasing numbers as popular campaigns have taken to the street to promote the campaign, Ma’an News Agency said on August 28.

Economic analysts say the campaign could potentially have a major negative effect on the Israeli economy. It could also buoy the Palestinian economy.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the annual Palestinian consumption of Israeli exports is about US$3.5 billion. Palestinian exports to Israel only amount to around $600 million.

Azmi Abd al-Rahman, the director-general of Policy and Economic Studies and Palestinian economics ministry spokesperson, told Ma'an: “If applied well, the boycott could create between 70 to 100,000 job opportunities in the Palestinian lands by providing billions of dollars annually.”

Nafez Abu Baker, a Palestinian professor of economy, told Ma'an that "this is an economic war and it is no less important than a political war."

Abu Baker added that the many countries around the world are starting to boycott Israel, and it is most important for Palestinians to boycott Israel, despite the obstacles they face under Israeli military -- and economic -- control.

Israel announces huge West Bank land grab

Israel announced a huge land appropriation on August 31, seizing nearly 400 hectares of land in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera said the next day.

The land seizure is in the Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem and comes just days after Gaza ceasefire.

A Palestinian official said the latest land grab by Israel would cause only more friction after the Gaza war that left more than 2000 Palestinians dead and more than 10,000 injured.

Peace Now group, which opposes Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank, said the appropriation was meant to turn a site where 10 families now live adjacent to a Jewish seminary into a permanent settlement.

Building a major settlement at the location, known as “Gevaot”, has been mooted by Israel since 2000, Al Jazeera said. Last year, the government invited bids for the building of 1000 housing units at the site.

Peace Now said the land seizure was the largest announced by Israel in the West Bank since the 1980s. Anyone with ownership claims had 45 days to appeal. A local Palestinian mayor said Palestinians owned the tracts and harvested olive trees on them.

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