Gaza City's al-Saha market
Gaza City's al-Saha market
Dani Rubinstein

TEL AVIV— Just a few days before the decision by the European Parliament to label products coming from Israeli settlements a survey was released to gauge Palestinian opinion about boycotts as a way to punish Israel's policy.

The Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC), a Palestinian research institute, surveyed 1200 people from East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza about the boycott issue. Some 50% said they supported a full boycott on all made-in-Israel products, yet only 10% said they wanted a boycott of products only from Jewish settlements. In other words, Palestinians don't care if the products come from the West Bank or from Tel Aviv.

In a similar survey published six months ago, 60% of the people said they supported a full boycott on Israeli products, which means Palestinian support overall for the international sanctions is declining. Only one-third of the respondents said they themselves refuse to buy any Israeli products (often there are no Palestinian substitutes for certain Israeli-made product), and 12% did not support any boycott at all.

The idea of a boycott on Israeli products has been consuming Palestinians for the past decade, since the movement first began abroad. Palestinian officials who visited Europe in the past were asked how could the Europeans be expected to help against the settlements if Palestinians themselves were buying their products.

Basic economics

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad initiated a law at that time that prohibited buying any settler-made products, which included a public list of all the Israeli factories in the West Bank, as well as fines and prison sentences of 2-5 years to those who sell, deal or store settlements products. Moreover, Palestinians who worked in Israeli factories were required to quit their job and find a different one in Palestinian factories.

Even with the measures taken back then by the Palestinian government, the boycott on products coming from Israeli settlements failed for simple economic reasons. Today 40,000 Palestinians work in Israeli settlements and factories in the West Bank. The salary of a Palestinian working in Israeli factories is three times higher than the average West Bank salary.

Though half the Palestinians may still support the boycott on Israeli products, the boycott has no real chance to succeed since the Palestinian economy is so utterly dependent on Israel.

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Geopolitics

Putin Psychology 101: The World Tries To Get Inside Russian Leader’s Head

Experts in geopolitics and the workings of world leaders have accelerated a two-decade long quest to understand the motivations of the enigmatic man in the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin during the president's annual press conference in Russia

Kremlin.ru
Anna Akage

PARISVladimir Putin’s origin story, fed by Russian propaganda into the Western media, centers around his rise to lead Russia after a strategic KGB posting in the closing years of the Cold War. Understanding his current geopolitical ambitions would thus require that we imagine the mindset of a Soviet spymaster ready to manipulate world politics for the past two decades as he attempts to build a new Russian empire.

But what if Putin was nothing more than a desk clerk in his late 1980s posting in the eastern German city of Dresden? If the young functionary was simply a convenient tool plucked by the circle of oligarchs formed around then Russian president Boris Yeltsin to secure their own status? That indeed is the reading from influential Russian blogger and political analyst Maxim Katz, who last year exposed recently declassified documents that Putin was a minor player who went by the codename of “Moth” — not a bear or tiger, or even a hamster!

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