P.A. to Try Man for Violating Boycott

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JERUSALEM, Israel - The Palestinian Authority arrested and jailed a man for "carrying out commercial transactions with residents of a hostile state," the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency reported on Thursday.

The accused, a merchant in the PA-controlled city of Bethlehem, was caught bringing products manufactured in a Jewish community in Judea to sell in the city. He will remain in custody until the trial is over. 

In May, PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a bill making it a criminal offense to do business with Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria - the West Bank.

Abbas ordered PA police to confiscate Israeli-made goods and arrest shop owners who continued to carry products. He also banned Palestinians from working in Jewish towns and cities in Judea and Samaria, but many workers have ignored the order

Palestinian police detained several merchants over the summer, but this is the first merchant to be put on trial, according to the report.

Shortly after the decision, PA Prime Minister Salim Fayyad invited the press to film him throwing Israeli-manufactured products in a huge bonfire.

According to Hassan Abu Libdeh, the Palestinian Authority's economics minister, they confiscated $1 million worth of Jewish-manufactured products.

In May, Abbas legal adviser Hasan al-Ouri was quoted by the PA's official news agency, WAFA, promising the law would root out "the cancers found in the Palestinian body who target the Palestinian people's humanity, soil and fate."

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