Europeans consider Israeli boycotts over Palestinian issue

Jan. 7, 2014 at 5:56 PM
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JERUSALEM, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Israeli hawks charged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is quietly throwing his support behind European boycotts to pressure a peace deal with Palestinians.

The boycotts, proposed by some European governments generally critical of Israel's Palestinian policy, call for an end to businesses operating beyond the 1949 armistice lines. Kerry initially persuaded the Europeans to back off their boycott talks to allow for a peace deal to be negotiated but now, Israeli broadcaster Arutz Sheva said Kerry is considering throwing his support behind them if the Palestinian talks collapse.

The boycott topic is a sensitive one in Israel, especially when it comes from Americans whose support has long thought to be unwavering. Recently, the American Studies Association, an academic group, announced an academic boycott of Israeli professors, the first such move by any American professional organization.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said his country remains committed to reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

"It is clear to us that there are large gaps [between us] -- and this is not new -- but it is certainly in our interest to continue negotiations and to continue to work to stabilize the situation in the relationship between us and the Palestinians," Ya'alon said.

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