The Knesset has passed on its second and third reading a law that protects consumers in Yehudah and Shomron from being misled by storekeepers and service providers regarding delivery of products and services. It is now the responsibility of the seller to inform customers in Yehudah and Shomron that they will not deliver the product or service to residents who live in Yehudah or Shomron – and if they fail to do so, it will cost them NIS 10,000 in fines.
Besides residents of Yehudah and Shomron, the law also helps residents of areas where sellers have sometimes been reluctant to deliver, including the Gaza border area and Arab towns and villages. Stores and organizations must post signs saying that they do not deliver to specific areas, and if a customer from those areas does buy something from them and the seller does not receive acknowledgment from the customer that they are aware of the policy, they will be subject to the penalty.
The law comes to alleviate an ongoing situation where residents of Yehudah and Shomron often find out too late that the refrigerator or washing machine that they have purchased will not be delivered by the store they ordered it from – because it is the store’s “policy” not to deliver to the communities they live in. Often, it is impossible for purchasers to get their money back, because of store policies that provide only for store credit and not for refunds.
That section of the law specifically targets residents of Yehudah and Shomron, leading United Arab List MK Yussef Jabarin to object to its passage, claiming that its purpose was “to promote annexation and normalize the settlements as areas where Israeli law applies, in contradiction to international law.” UAL MK Ahmed Tibi added that “since the settlements are violations of international law, it is legitimate for sellers to consider them illegitimate.”
In response, Jewish Home MK Shelly Muallem-Refaely said that the law would prevent discrimination on the basis of geography for all Israelis, including Arabs, who also find that sellers often refuse to deliver to them, because of fears of personal safety. “But Arab MKs are more interested in harming settlers than helping their own constituents,” she said. “They are willing to scratch out both their eyes, as long as they can take with them one eye of the settlers. For a fair shake, I call on Israeli Arabs to vote for Jewish Home.”
In response, Zionist Camp MK Eitan Cabel said that although he was no fan of settlements, “I maintain that as long as Israelis live in these communities at the behest of the state, it cannot ignore them or their rights. If the day ever comes when we arrive at a peace agreement with our neighbors, I am sure that this law will not stand in its way.”