The Palestinian Authority has announced an official boycott of six major Israeli food companies in retaliation for Israel’s withholding of tax revenues, a move which was itself retribution for the Palestinian leadership’s efforts to drag the Jewish state before the International Criminal Court.
From today (Wednesday), Palestinian stores are forbidden to purchase from the Israeli food manufacturers Strauss, Tnuva, Osem, Elite, Prigat and Jafora. Those shops which still have stock from these companies have two weeks to clear their shelves of these products.
Senior PA official Mahmoud al-Alul said that government inspectors will soon begin random checks of Palestinian stores to ensure the boycott is being observed. He said this was a first step toward a total boycott of all goods made in Israel.
Global pro-Palestinian organizations have for years been calling for a total boycott of Israeli products. Palestinian merchants have for years already been prohibited from selling products produced in Jewish settlements.
But a survey conducted last year by the PA’s Consumer Protection Authority revealed that Palestinian Arabs are major consumers of Israeli products, for which there are no quality local alternatives.
According to the survey, 70 percent of Palestinian imports come from Israel.
Israel does not restrict imports to the Palestinian-controlled areas, and Israeli goods sold there must compete with those imported from Europe and other Arab states. The reason Israeli products do so well is because Palestinian Arabs prefer them, according to several Palestinian merchants who spoke to the Al Quds newspaper at the time.
For Palestinians, Israeli products are less expensive than European imports, but of much higher quality than cheaper Arab-made alternatives.
The survey was yet another example of how boycott efforts, both local and international, hurt Palestinian Arabs as badly or worse than Israelis, and therefore do very little, if anything, to advance the cause of peace.