May 28, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian government will soon launch a fund of 50 million U.S. dollars with the aim of supporting Palestinian workers who intend to leave their jobs at Israeli settlements, labor minister at the Ramallah-based government said Thursday.

"The government has adopted this choice since it has made its decision to boycott the Israeli settlements," Ahmed Majdalani told Xinhua.

The minister also said that the government has taken a number of measures to address any deficiencies that might come out in the Palestinian labor market, stressing that the fund is one of these "numerous procedures."

According to Majdalani, the fund will target 20,000 Palestinian laborers working in Israel's West Bank settlements and would quit their jobs under a Palestinian plan declared last April to clear the Palestinian markets of settlers' products.

The Palestinians and wide majority of the international community believe that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are an obstacle to peacemaking in the region since they swallow up large lands that the Palestinians want for their future state.

However, the Israelis see that peace is reachable if the Palestinians give up the idea of removing the settlements and accept the proposal of land swap with the Jewish state.

Meanwhile, Majdalani said the funding, due to kick off in a few days, will mainly provide workers with loans as well as aid to their families.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) launched a campaign in April called "from home to home" to encourage Palestinians in the West Bank to boycott about 500 items made and produced in Israeli settlements which the Palestinians describe as "illegal."

According to official statistics, the Palestinian market annually consumes 200 million U.S. dollars of products made in the West Bank and Jerusalem settlements.


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