Palestinians hold placards shouting slogans during a demonstration to ask for the boycott of Israeli products and goods on February 15, 2014 in the West Bank city of Nablus. (AFP PHOTO/JAAFAR ASHTIYEH)
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Though voices are getting louder inside and outside Israel about the threat of economic boycotts for its continued occupation of Palestinian territories, there seems little prospect of it facing measures with real bite.In December, Dutch firm Vitens said it would not work with Israeli utility company Mekorot because of its West Bank footprint. The following month a large Dutch pension fund, PGGM, ended its investment in five Israeli banks because of their business dealings with settlements considered illegal under international law. Looking to convince the skeptics, Lapid said failure to strike a deal could lead to a 20 percent drop in exports to the European Union and a halt in EU direct investment, warning that this would cost the Israeli economy 11 billion shekels ($3.1 billion) a year.EU diplomats say business with firms operating in the settlements, such as skincare company Ahava, represent less than 1 percent of all Israeli-EU trade, which last year totalled $36.7 billion, up from $20.9 billion a decade earlier.
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