President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday joined a campaign to stop Palestinians buying goods produced by illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, urging all Palestinians to shun the products.
Thousands of young Palestinians began a door-to-door campaign on Tuesday against products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The 75-year old Palestinian leader opened his door to volunteers distributing leaflets detailing products from furniture to soft drinks which the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has banned from Palestinian markets.
"I call on all Palestinian citizens to do the same and to boycott these goods," said Abbas, speaking in public for the first time about a campaign spearheaded by his prime minister, Salam Fayyad.
"It is not necessary, under any circumstances, for us to consume goods originating from settlements that were established on our territory," he said in Ramallah, where he met members of the movement that organised the boycott.
"We are very happy that our young people... went voluntarily to empty Palestinian homes of products from the settlements," Abbas added.
He put a sticker on his door declaring his house "free of settlement goods".
By banning settlement goods, the Palestinians aim to encourage European Union member states to ban trade with enterprises in the settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.
Abbas signed a presidential decree in April stipulating punishments ranging from fines to imprisonment for Palestinians dealing in settlement goods. The Palestinian Authority also aims to stop Palestinians from working in the Israeli enclaves.
Palestinian officials estimate the value of settlement goods sold in the Palestinian market at up to $500 million. The settlements employ around 25,000 Palestinians.
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