Israeli Companies to Build Palestinian City, Sign Pledge not to use Settlement Products

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 12:25 Alternative Information Center (AIC)

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Israeli army radio reported this morning (28 December) that some twenty Israeli companies signed contracts with the Palestinian Authority to build the planned city of Rawabi, while committing themselves not to use raw materials, products or services originating in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights.


The right wing in Israel responded to this report with anger. Knesset Member Carmel Shama (Likud), head of the Economic Committee of the Knesset, called for an emergency meeting of his committee next week. And the “Eretz Israel lobby” in the Knesset, headed by Zeev Elkin (Likud) and Arieh Eldad (National Unity) announced that next week they will propose legislation prohibiting Israeli companies from boycotting Israeli products. Member of Knesset Danny Danon said that he would propose a law calling for a company to be fined the amount of any contract it signs that calls on boycotting Israeli products.

Rawabi (“hills”) is the flagship infrastructure project of the Palestinian Authority, touted as the “first planned modern city” in the West Bank. Rawabi is financed by the Bayti Real Estate Investment Company for US$800 million, the largest private investment ever made in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Rawabi is being constructed 9 kilometres north of Ramallah and the area between the two cities is Area C, under full Israeli control and home to a 100 family settlement, Ateret. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has expressed Israeli willingness to “cede” a 2.8 square kilometer of this area so that a road can be built between Ramallah and Rawabi.

In August of this year, Israel’s then Minister of the Environment and current representative in the United Nations Gilad Erden (Likud) argued that Rawabi does not meet Israeli environmental standards and that construction should be frozen pending a solution to flowing sewage in the area. Arden of course did not mention environmental damage caused by the nearby settlements.

And Knesset Member Yaakov Katz of the opposition National Unity party suggested that settlers not hinder construction of Rawabi so that when the Palestinians are evicted as they were in Jaffa, Ramle and Lod, Israeli Jews could take over the homes.

Israeli Companies to Build Palestinian City, Sign Pledge not to use Settlement Products.

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