´Palestinians will lose jobs if boycott persists´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Elior Levy Published: 05.20.12, 00:55)
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Owners of factories in West Bank say South African decision to mark
settlement products will only harm local employees. ´Ideology is a
nice thing, but economic interests eventually prevail,´ says factory
The South African Trade and Industry Minister´s decision to mark
products from the settlements did not surprise factory owners in the
West Bank, who are accustomed by now to boycott attempts; however,
some of them are concerned that the current move will be followed by
other countries, potentially leading to substantial damages for them
and for their employees.
Ironically, those who would get harmed the most by the move are some
15,000 Palestinian workers who are employed in these factories and
depend on them to make a living.
"Of course I am worried, but first and foremost I am concerned about
my workers, who will be the first to get hit; there are thousands of
employees here that are getting conditions that they won´t get
anywhere else in the Palestinian Authority, and if costs are cut
because of the boycott, they will be the first to get fired," said a
manager of a factory located in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
The manager noted that he successfully handled boycott attempts in
the past, but this time the situation is more worrisome: "They always
make it difficult for us, and up until now the workers couldn’t care
less; ideology is a nice thing, but eventually economic interests
prevail. This time we must stop the title wave.
"The workers and myself are in the same mind that there should be a
political agreement at the highest echelons, even if it is secret,
that would prevent these boycotts," he added.
According to Yehuda Cohen, an owner of a factory in the Barkan
Industrial Park, which has been boycotted by the Palestinian
Authority for nearly two years, "These industrial zones are the most
beautiful thing there is – we live and make a living together. This
is an example of how you can live peacefully in this area, but the
Foreign Ministry doesn’t know how to market it to the outside world."
Cohen, who employs some 40 Palestinian workers, said his employees
are very concerned about the situation: "They tell me that they are
worried about it, that it’s a mistake and that it will harm them," he
Officials at the Samaria Regional Council, which operates the Barkan
Industrial Park and employs thousands of Palestinian workers, are
also concerned by the financial problems that might ensue.
"It´s amazing how the radical Left fails to understand that the main
victims are the Palestinians themselves," Samaria Regional Council
head Gershon Mesika said.
"Fortunately, so far these boycotts have been nothing but PR
maneuvers, and we are sure that Jews and Arabs will continue to work
together and strengthen our prosperous industry and live in
coexistence," he added.
´South Africa won´t be the last´
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry on Saturday announced that South
Africa´s ambassador to Israel will be summoned to the Foreign
Ministry on Sunday for clarification.
Ministry officials called the decision "racist," saying "it´s a shame
that South Africa, which suffered from racism for years, is the one
leading this gambit."
The officials added that the decision specifically targets Israel,
and has not been issued against any other state, which proves that it
is a politically-motivated move that can have detrimental
consequences on Israeli exports as a whole.
Former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Alon Liel told Ynet
that "those who thought we could continue stalling the peace process
without seeing the boycott campaign expand – were mistaken.
"South Africa and Denmark will not be the last, if the peace process
remains at a standstill," Liel warned. Itamar Fleishman contributed
to this article (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 05/20/12)
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