Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative movement, has estimated that Israel has incurred losses of around eight billion dollars due to the boycott campaign against illegal settlements, equivalent to 20 per cent of their GDP.
Regarding the latest Palestinian efforts to escalate the settlement boycott, Barghouti revealed that an agreement has been made with 13 democratic Arab parties to form boycott committees in the Arab world.
In a statement to Quds Net News Agency on Thursday he said: "the European Union did not issue a decision to boycott Israel, but what is taking place is the boycott of any relationship or agreements with settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."
Furthermore: "This experience is being circulated worldwide and not only in European countries; many areas worldwide are also ready to boycott the settlements."
The agreement with the Arab parties to participate in the boycott campaign came after the participation of a delegation from the Palestinian National Initiative movement headed by Barghouti, along with a delegation from Fatah, headed by Nabil Shaath in the Arab Social Democratic Forum. It was held in Amman, Jordan, over two days and ended Wednesday.
The draft resolution put forward by the Palestinian National Initiative regarding Jerusalem was agreed upon unanimously, along with a mass movement of boycott and sanctions against Israel and the decision to support the Palestinian popular resistance and the struggle for justice for Palestinians against the occupation and the settlements.
The delegates called upon the people of the Arab world and its friends to adopt a strategy for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it ends its discriminatory, unjust occupation.
It is expected that the Human Rights Council of the UN in Geneva will vote on Thursday and Friday on five resolutions condemning Israel. These include a resolution calling to encourage boycotting Israeli settlements and cutting all investments with them. Meanwhile, Israeli diplomacy has not taken any direct action to curb these decisions and is busy dealing with strikes in their international embassies and consulates.
A senior Israeli official said that the proposal for the resolution calling for a boycott of the settlements is creating tension and anxiety in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office. Having realised that Israeli diplomacy is completely paralysed due to the strikes, they quickly decided to assign a special envoy to Geneva. Meanwhile the Israeli vice-president of the National Security Council, Aaron Larmon, was expected to arrive on Wednesday but a last minute decision was taken to cancel the visit after officials in the Prime Minister's office realised that they would not be able to influence the formulation of decisions looming in Geneva.
The draft resolution in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva was based on the proposition made by a group of Arab states in the Human Rights Council, including the Palestinian Authority, and is entitled Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The proposed draft resolution, which will be voted upon, is the first of its kind to condemn Israel in UN Human Rights Council resolutions.
Israel considers the wording very dangerous as it is based on what is stated in the BDS campaign against settlements, and although the decision of the Human Rights Council does not bind any obligation upon any state, the vote in favour of such a decision will bring about more Israeli settlement boycotts and the boycott of Israeli companies that cooperate with settlements, operate there, or even open branches there.