Meretz Labeling Bill Jeopardizes Palestinian Jobs, Says Shomron Committee

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Meretz bill calling for the labeling of products from Yehudah and Shomron touched off an angry exchange with Jewish businessmen in the region who argue that such a law would only cause economic harm to Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.

The Shomron Residents Committee sent a letter to Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On on Tuesday, which urged her to withdraw the proposal, which it contended would cost thousands of Palestinians their jobs and “could bring massive economic chaos.”

The letter was signed by 15 businesses from Yehudah and Shomron, in several sectors, including textiles, metalwork and carpentry.

Gal-On stood her ground, however, branding the letter “an act of terrorism that holds thousands of Palestinian workers hostage.”

“Don’t threaten us,” she said. “We won’t take responsibility for your fear-mongering.”

The Meretz proposal, which would require that all products be labeled with the city or town in which they were manufactured, will probably be voted down, as it has been twice in the past.

Nevertheless, as the boycott issue has grown more threatening in recent days, particularly in light of European Union plans for economic sanctions against Israel, the Meretz bill is provoking an even stronger reaction than usual.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly asked Meretz to withdraw the bill.