An international campaign to boycott Israeli products is taking a heavy toll on illegal settlers in the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank.
The income of the settlerss who grow fresh products dropped by more than 14 percent or $29 million in the last year, mostly because Western European markets avoid buying the products, settlers said on Friday.
The boycott is particularly stronger in Britain and Scandinavia where the people are shunning peppers, dates, grapes and fresh herbs produced by the settlers.
"The damage is enormous," said David Elhayani, the head of the Jordan Valley’s 21 settlements with 7,000 settlers.
"In effect, today, we are almost not selling to the European market anymore," Elhayani added.
Michael Deas, a Britain-based coordinator for the international boycott movement, said, "Supermarkets are now starting to realize that there's a really big reputational risk involved here."
Earlier in the day, Israeli rights group Peace Now revealed Tel Aviv’s plans to build more than 1,800 new settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories despite the opposition of the United Nations and the international community.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.