A senior Palestinian Authority official on Monday called on members of the European Union to institute a complete boycott on goods produced in Israeli West Bank settlements.
Chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, who also serves as secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said in a statement that such a measure must be taken in order to thwart Israel’s “colonization plans” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Erekat told the EU that concrete action was needed now and not just statements.
“We are at a crucial moment where concrete measures, rather than recycled statements, are the only way to move forward…to save the prospects for justice and peace,” he said.
“We are talking about one of the most blatant Israeli violations of international humanitarian law,” Erekat said in reference to Israeli settlement policies, adding, “therefore we demand a total ban on Israeli settlement products, including services.”
Israel has in recent days approved some 5,500 new homes in West Bank settlements and a further 550 in East Jerusalem. In addition, the Knesset passed the Regulation law that allows Israel to legalize some outposts built on private Palestinian land.
Erekat said that EU guidelines issued in 2015 recommending EU member states label Israeli goods produced in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were “insufficient.”
Only a number of EU countries have implemented the EU’s recommendations, most notably France. The EU insists these are technical guidelines on the indication of origin and are “in no way a boycott.”
Israeli officials have been highly critical of the EU measure since it was announced in 2015, saying that it amounts to a de facto boycott of settlement made products.
Erekat also called on all EU nations that have not done so to recognize the State of Palestine and asked the EU to ensure the implementation of December’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which labeled Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “a flagrant violation under international law” and having “no legal validity.”
“There is no contradiction between taking action against Israeli violations of international law, implementation of UN resolutions and calls for resumption of negotiations.”
Erekat has made a number of comments concerning Israeli settlement policies as of late, including saying US silence on Israeli settlement construction under the administration of US President Donald Trump further encourages the building of settlements and is a violation of UNSC 2334.