Palestinian PM Fayyad hits back at Israel with boycott call
By Ali Sawafta
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad urged his compatriots in the occupied West Bank on Sunday to boycott all Israeli products, upping the ante in a standoff with the Jewish state.
Tensions between Palestinian and Israeli leaders have risen since the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize Palestinian statehood last month, a move opposed by Israel and its ally, the United States.
Israel retaliated by announcing last week that it would dock for four months the customs revenue it collects on the Palestinians' behalf - money the Palestinian Authority needs to function. It had already withheld December's revenues.
"Today, I call upon citizens to boycott Israeli products as an answer to the aggression directed against us, to defend our right to survive," Fayyad told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
"We will take the necessary steps to implement that."
Fayyad had previously angered Israel by issuing calls to avoid buying Israeli goods produced in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but Sunday's call extended the call to all Israeli goods.
Israel has already accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of violating peace accords by sidestepping stalled negotiations and securing a status upgrade at the United Nations.
Fayyad's boycott call may be tough to implement, as Israel is the Palestinians' biggest trading partner, and Israeli food and manufactured goods are staples of the Palestinian market. Continued...