A Palestinian Authority (PA) court in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem sentenced three Palestinian merchants to two years in prison on Wednesday after being found guilty of trading commodities produced in illegal Israeli settlements, in the first ruling of its kind in the Palestinian territory.
In a statement released by the general prosecution for the Palestinian Authority (PA), the three were found guilty of violating a 2010 bill which prohibits trading products from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The three merchants were also being forced to pay around $14,000 in fines for the violation.
Many Palestinians seek employment in illegal Israeli settlements, and some engage in business, largely due to the high rate of unemployment in the territory caused by Israel’s nearly half-century occupation of the West Bank, which has severely crippled the economy. The wide disparity between prices and wages in Israel and the Palestinian territory has also driven Palestinians to seek work within Israeli businesses both in Israel and in its illegal settlements.