The Knesset`s House Committee, headed by MK David Bitan (Likud), decided on Monday to turn to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ask that he submit to the government a proposal to amend the Mandatory Tenders Regulations so that companies from Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem, the Negev and the Galilee would be prioritized in procurement tenders of the Knesset.
The committee requests that the amended regulations be submitted for the approval of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee within 30 days.
While presenting his proposal, Bitan said: ”The decision by the European Parliament to approve a resolution calling to label products from the settlements came just days after the publication of a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, in which 50 percent of the respondents said they support a comprehensive boycott of Israeli products. Only 10 percent said only products made in the settlements should be boycotted. For the Palestinians it doesn`t matter if the Israeli products are made in Petah Tikva or Ariel. This is also the position of the BDS movement, which is gaining momentum.”
”If we are not united from within, why should we complain about newspaper headlines around the world which portray our police officers and soldiers as though they are the aggressors?” he added. ”I call on the members of the committee to show the world that we are one nation, and when you hurt some of us, it is as if you hurt us all.”
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) called the motion ”immoral”, while MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), who contacted the Knesset`s legal advisor Eyal Yinon on Monday evening and requested his legal opinion on the motion, told Bitan, ”We can have differences of opinion on an essential issue such as whether [Israel should] keep the occupied territories or not, but you and the Likud are abandoning the other parts of the country. Since the Olmert Government, not only have goods from Judea and Samaria been insured with vast amounts of money, but they (settlements) also have also received budgets and tax benefits. There has been severe discrimination here throughout the years.”
Bitan said in response ”we are investing in the Negev more than you ever dreamed of investing in it. The original proposal called to prioritize products from Judea and Samaria because the European Parliament called to label only those goods. We will make sure the regulation is amended. The EP`s decision to boycott the goods mainly hurts the Palestinian workers. This is a measure against coexistence.”
Ten MKs voted in favor of Bitan`s proposal, and six opposed.