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Monday, December 17, 2012

"Moderate" Fayyad calls to break agreements with Israel

From Times of Israel:
The Palestinian premier called on his people Sunday to boycott Israeli products, the latest step in an economic battle between Palestinians and Israelis spurred by the Palestinians’ status upgrade last month at the United Nations.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, a US-educated economist, told reporters the call for a boycott is a protest against Israel’s withholding of funds to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

Israel is holding $100 million in taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, based on an interim peace accord. It cut off the funds to protest the Palestinians’ successful bid last month at the United Nations, which granted the Palestinians nonmember observer state status. Israel said the Palestinian move was an attempt to bypass peace negotiations. Palestinians deny that.

Israel has briefly withheld tax transfers on previous occasions to pressure the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank uses the money to pay salaries to its tens of thousands of civil servants and security forces. Israel said it is using the money to pay down huge debts Fayyad’s government owes to Israeli firms, including its electricity company.

Fayyad admitted a Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods would violate an interim peace agreement with Israel, in which the two sides pledged economic cooperation, but he justified the move because “the Israeli government is working against this agreement” by withholding tax funds.
So it is fine for the PLO to abrogate Oslo by going to the UN and for Fayyad to violate the agreements by calling for a boycott, but it is not OK for Israel to try to recoup the huge amounts owed to it?

Here's the funny part:
In the past, Fayyad called for a boycott of goods made in Israeli settlements, but that boycott appears to have had no impact.
If Fayyad cannot get Palestinian Arabs to boycott the evil "settlements," - indeed, tens of thousands of them work in them - then he only practical result from his call to boycott Israeli goods altogether is to expose him as a hypocrite, calling to violate accords while blaming Israel.

(h/t Ian)