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Palestinian government plans $50m fund to support settlement boycott
Palestinian government says it has banned the sale of settlement products and will transition 20,000 Palestinian laborers out of Israeli employment.
May 28, 2010 9:21 by Rasha Reslan
The Palestinian government plans to establish a $50 million fund to help thousands of Palestinians quit work in Israeli settlements by the end of the year, Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani said Thursday.
The fund, to be formally announced on Monday, would be a major step in a widening boycott campaign against settlements scattered across lands the Palestinians want for their state. The Palestinian government has already banned the sale of settlement products in West Bank shops, threatening violators with stiff fines and even prison terms.
While Palestinian security forces have begun confiscating settlement goods from West Bank shops, the ban on settlement work is not to be enforced until the end of the year. West Bank unemployment remains high, and the Palestinian economy cannot absorb more than 20,000 settlement workers on short notice.
The Palestinian government plans to raise $50 million in local and international contributions to ease the transition for the workers, Majdalani said on Thursday. He said the Palestinian Cabinet would make a formal announcement about the “dignity fund” on Monday, but did not say who was expected to contribute. He said money from the fund would be used as an incentive to Palestinian employers to hire former settlement workers, by paying half their salaries for the first year.