A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Israeli settlements, June 5, 2015. AFP/THOMAS COEX
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Local authorities and public-sector organizations in Britain will be prevented from boycotting Israeli suppliers under new government rules, and those who do could face severe penalties, the government said Wednesday.The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which campaigns for a boycott of all Israeli goods and questions Israel's legitimacy, condemned Britain's new rules.The British government said the World Trade Organization's Government Procurement Agreement required signatories to treat suppliers equally, and therefore any discrimination against Israeli suppliers would be in breach of the agreement.The government has not made boycotts a criminal offense, but those in sectors such as the health service, local authorities and some university student unions that impose them could face penalties, including fines and contract cancellations, the government said.
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