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The genesis of a Palestinian medical boycott

While the decision to stop new Palestinian referrals to Israeli hospitals will save the government $100 million a year, the call was a middle-ground agreement and will not be easy on the most vulnerable.
General view of the Augusta Victoria hospital in East Jerusalem September 10, 2018. REUTERS/ Ammar Awad - RC1E18363520

When it became clear that President Mahmoud Abbas would choose him to be the eighth Palestinian prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh huddled around him some of the top Palestinian economists and political experts to plan how to deal with the looming financial crisis. “We all know the depth of the financial crisis, and we are familiar with the various options that are available,” said a source who huddled with Shtayyeh and asked not to be identified.

“The choices ranged from a call for a total boycott of Israeli products and a call on Palestinians not to work in Israel, to acquiescing to Israeli and American dictates,” said the source, a businessman who was active in the first intifada. “In the end, a middle of the road decision was taken: An immediate end of referrals to Israeli hospitals will be instituted, while the more radical decision of boycotting Israeli products and worker no-shows would be postponed till later,” he added.

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