Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of Fatah's Executive Committee, has called for a full local, regional and international economic boycott of Israel to oblige it to withdraw from the occupied Palestinians territories.
"Israel has to pay the price for its occupation in order to feel its burden," he said while delivering a speech at a conference held to support the Palestinian crops against settlement food production in the local market.
Since the Palestinian and Israeli economies are interrelated, Shtayyeh called upon the Palestinian Authority leadership to take tangible steps regarding the boycott. "It is not possible for us to call for the world to boycott Israel, while our annual imports from Israel are worth $5 billion," he said.
This means that, "We import 90 per cent of our needs from Israel." He also said that 70 per cent of Palestinian exports go to Israel.
Shtayyeh gave examples of other boycotts from recent history, such as Indians who boycotted British goods, African Americans who boycotted buses in Montgomery in the state of Alabama, as well as the Arab boycott of Israel during the 1987 Intifada.
For the time being, Shtayyeh called for spreading awareness among Arab businessmen who invest in Israel without knowing that it harms Palestinian interests. He said that there are 596 international firms, including many owned by Arabs, investing in Israel.
He also hailed the popular international efforts in raising the tactic of boycott. "This has started to give positive responses," he said. "Dozens of European and American firms have announced their boycott of Israel," adding that, "a large number of artists have refrained from performing in Israel."
Regarding the official EU attitudes towards the boycott, he said it is good, but reiterated that there are still many EU-supported projects with Israel despite knowing they are in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Shtayyeh acknowledged that there might not be a huge economic effect from the boycott of Israel. However, he noted that Israel has started to spend millions of USD on public relations campaigns aiming to improve its image in the West and to portray itself as a democratic state.
He also said that Israeli businessmen have started to feel the danger of the boycott. He said that about 100 Israeli businessmen have now publicly warned against the boycott.