The Palestinian Authority has called on the public to boycott several large supermarket chains in the West Bank that carry Israeli products.

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The decision targets upscale markets in Ramallah, in an attempt to pressure the stores to discontinue the sale of fruits and vegetables grown and processed in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

According to the Palestinian authorities, customers are not aware that some of the products are produced in one of over 200 Israeli settlements, built illegally on occupied Palestinian land deemed illegal under international law.

Palestinians consider these settlements the most crucial threat to their aspirations for statehood.

As a result, the Palestinian ministry of economy has announced it will aggressively pursue an already existing law that criminalises trading in settlement products, a move that is widely popular among Palestinians.

Israeli settlement products currently enjoy an estimated 15 per cent share of the Palestinian market, according to the minister of economy.

'Good move'

Al Jazeera's Nour Odeh, reporting from Ramallah, says the move to ban settlement products from the shelves will take time and require awareness among Palestinian consumers.

"The government argues that it is through this boycott, that they are now striking back at the illegal settlements - product by product," she said. 

Many products made in illegal settlements are on sale in the Palestinian territories
Jamal Juma, a Palestinian activist and co-ordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign, told Al Jazeera: "If the Palestinian Authority insists on implementing this decision, it means the authority will participate in boycotting one-third of the Israeli products that come to the West Bank.

"This is a very good step to support the Palestinian economy. It will provide the opportunity to improve Palestinians products and solve the unemployment problem.

"The decision will allow Palestinians to say: 'No to the occupation, we are not going to pay for the bulldozers that destroy our houses and for the bullets that kill our people'."

Source: Al Jazeera