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April 09, 2013
Whenever calls are made to ban goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank, Israel’s standard response is that sanctions of that nature would have an adverse effect on Palestinian workers.
The argument has been trotted out quite a few times lately as some representatives of the European Union have advocated economic measures against Israel.
In March, Gershon Mesika, chairman of the Samaria Regional Council — a local authority for Israeli settlements — warned that an EU ban on settlement goods would hurt the industrial zones in the occupied West Bank, a primary source of jobs for Palestinians (“EU parliamentarians in whirlwind tour of Samaria,” Israel National News, 13 March).
Later in the month, Yaakov Berg, founder of Psagot Winery, claimed his vineyards in the West Bank “provide good jobs for Palestinians that pay three or four times what they could earn elsewhere” (“Israel’s vineyards: the West Bank’s grapes of wrath,” The Daily Telegraph, 24 March).
And before Barack Obama’s trip to Israel, David Ha’ivri, director of the Shomron Liaison Office and a supporter of Israeli settlements, challenged the American president to visit the West Bank. Obama, he added, should “look into the eyes of Abed,” who has worked for 20 years in a factory in the Barkan industrial zone near the settlement of Ariel, and who, along with other Palestinians, “consider themselves lucky to have secure jobs” and “do not look forward to having all this closed down” (“Obama: come visit Shomron!” The Jerusalem Post, 27 February).