New Palestinian law bans Israeli settlement goods

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has signed a law banning goods manufactured in Jewish settlements from markets in the occupied West Bank, a top aide said Tuesday.

Israeli police officers watch a left-wing activist as he holds a placard that reads Stop the settlement in East Jerusalem during a protest against Jewish settlement in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem April 23, 2010.

The new law follows a months-long campaign to eliminate such goods that has seen the public burning and destruction of settlement products confiscated from Palestinian traders.

Palestinians view the more than 120 settlements scattered across the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, home to nearly a half million Israelis, as a major obstacle to the establishment of their promised state.

"This law comes on the grounds that the settlements are a cancer on the Palestinian body, targeting the humanity, the land and the destiny of the Palestinian people," Abbas aide Hassan al-Awri said in a statement.

"For this reason we must confront these settlements with all the means available to us."

Those found guilty of trading in settlement goods would face two to five years in prison and pay up to 22,000 dollars (16,400 euros) in fines, Awri said.

The law is in the form of a presidential decree, as the Palestinian parliament has only rarely been able to meet since the Islamist Hamas movement won a majority of seats in 2006 elections.

Source: AFP

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