PA to protest to Amazon over its shipping policies to settlements
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PA to protest to Amazon over its shipping policies to settlements

Palestinian official says letter will be sent to tech giant in the coming days; threatens international legal action if no changes are made

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Illustrative: An Amazon fulfillment center processes orders in Aurora, Colorado, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Illustrative: An Amazon fulfillment center processes orders in Aurora, Colorado, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Palestinian Authority Economy Ministry said on Tuesday that it intends to send a letter to Amazon in the coming days in protest of its shipping policy to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The statement came after the Financial Times reported on Friday that Amazon was offering free shipping to settlements in the West Bank for purchases above $49.

“The settlements are illegal in accordance with international law,” Ibrahim al-Qadi, the head of the consumer protection department in the PA Economy Ministry, said in a phone call. “Our letter will state clearly that Amazon should not be doing business with them.”

Qadi said the ministry would draft the letter in conjunction with several other PA bodies and send it to Amazon in the coming days.

While most of the international community considers settlements to be illegal, Israel, and more recently the US, has argued against this characterization.

Some 464,000 Israeli settlers live across the West Bank, according to the Interior Ministry.

An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

Qadi said the letter would also demand that Amazon provide free shipping to Palestinians — who mark their addresses as being in “The Palestinian Territories” — for purchases above $49.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, center, chairs a session of the weekly cabinet meeting, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 29, 2019.(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, Pool)

“Palestinians deserve the ability to receive the same services as Israelis,” he said. “The current policy is discriminatory.”

The FT also reported that while Amazon was offering free shipping to Israelis for purchases above $49, it was providing the same promotion to Palestinians — only if they mark their addresses as being in Israel.

The FT later reported that Amazon said the discrepancy was due to “a logistical issue,” but it did not clarify whether the company was now providing the shipping discount to Palestinians.

The State of Palestine gained non-member observer state status at the United Nations in 2012 and it has been recognized by more than 135 countries. Israel, the US and many European countries oppose the recognition.

Qadi added that the PA would also inform Amazon that it would wage international legal action against it, if it doesn’t respond affirmatively to its demands.

He said the PA could turn to the World Trade Organization, but referred follow-up questions to the PA Justice Ministry, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Palestine is not a member of the World Trade Organization.

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