Top Palestinian Official Blasts UK Decision to Ban Public-Sector Boycotts of Israel

Saeb Erekat (Associated Press)
Saeb Erekat (Associated Press)

JAFFA, Israel – PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat (pictured) has called on the British government to discontinue its punitive measures against universities and public associations that support boycotting Israel.

Erekat condemned the British policy in a meeting with the British Secretary of State for the Middle East and North Africa.

“I call on the British government to stop privileging the Israeli occupation and its disastrous policies that jeopardize the two-state solution,” he said in a statement relayed by the Palestinian media. “The one-sided settlement policy and war crimes against the innocent Palestinian people should not be rewarded either.”

“The British government decision to criminalize calls for boycotting Israel is at odds with international law,” he said. “I asked him how his government could allow the settler [Knesset Speaker] Yuli Edelstein to address a parliamentary committee. It is a violation of the rules of diplomacy, and a reward to those who commit war crimes and breach international law.”

“How can Britain take part in the international coalition against terror, while at the same time condoning the terrorist policies of the Israeli occupation?” he concluded.

PLO official Wassel Abu Yussef told Breitbart Jerusalem that the Palestinians make similar claims to other world powers.

“Boycott is a non-violent means that intimidates the Israeli occupation,” he said. “We work hard to nurture it worldwide. Whoever opposes boycotts supports ipso facto the perpetuation of the occupation.”

On Wednesday, the British government formally unveiled new regulations that bar local authorities and public-sector organizations from boycotting Israeli suppliers.

Reuters further reported:

The British Cabinet Office said that apart from where legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been imposed, procurement boycotts by public authorities were “inappropriate.”

In a statement, it said such boycotts “undermine good community relations, poisoning and polarising debate, weakening integration and fuelling anti-Semitism.”

The new rules coincided with a visit to Israel by Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock during which he voiced opposition to “those calling for boycotts.”


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