In an effort to garner support for its cause, the Palestinian Authority has sent letter to over 50 countries asking them to freeze business dealings and withdraw investments from Israeli settlement areas occupied since the 1967 war. In the latest diplomatic offensive, the Palestinian Authority has sent letter to countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia including South Africa, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
The letter requests governments to put pressure on their companies to discourage them to have any relations with the Israeli settlements areas. It also calls upon governments to bar Israeli companies with connections to the settlement areas from doing business in their countries.
The letter says, citizens of countries living in settlement areas, be asked to leave, as staying there is illegal. This call for economic boycott got a thrust during Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' recent trip to Europe.
"I call on European companies and foreign companies doing business in the settlements to put an end to their activities," President Abbas said, following his meeting with European Council President Herman van Rompuy.
The diplomatic campaign comes after the June decision of the EU to implement a ban on financial assistance to Israeli organizations found operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights from 2014.
The decision infuriated Israel, following which it refused to participate in the Horizon 2020 European scientific exchange program.
Recent months has seen several EU Member-States including the UK and the Netherlands, warn their companies against dealing with Israeli settlements areas in the occupied territories. In early October, Dutch infrastructure giant Royal Haskoning DHV, announced it was withdrawing from a wastewater treatment plant project in East Jerusalem, as the site is outside of the pre-1967 border of Israel.
Reports say there are more than 500,000 Israelis living in the settlements areas which the Israelis have been actively encouraging. However, several countries have criticised Israeli settlements in the area and called its existence unlawful and a major stumbling block on the path of peace in the Middle East.
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