Palestine to sue Amazon over free shipping to settlements
The Palestinian Authority announced on Tuesday it will take legal action against online retail giant Amazon over the company's policy that allows Israelis living in illegal settlements free delivery while charging Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank.
In a statement on Tuesday, the PA's economy ministry said it will send a letter to Amazon demanding an immediate halt of its commercial activities in Israeli settlements.
The ministry also said it will seek legal action against the e-commerce company, over "its discrimination policy that favours illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories over the indigenous Palestinian population".
The move comes after a Financial Times report revealed that Amazon has been supplying Jewish settlers living in illegal settlements in the West Bank with free delivery.
Palestinians living in the same area, however, would still have to pay for their delivery.
Amazon's site states the promotion applies to customers with shipping addresses in Israel on qualifying orders over $49.
Upon running West Bank addresses listed as Israeli through Amazon's delivery portal, the FT found that the world's biggest online retailer offers free shipping to settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, which are deemed illegal under international law.
Customers who select "Palestinian Territories" as their address, however, are subject to shipping and handling fees upwards of $24, the FT reported.
Amazon spokesman Nick Caplin told the FT that customers within the occupied Palestinian territories can enter their addresses and select Israel as their country to qualify for the promotion.
These details are not specified on Amazon's site.
When contacted by The New Arab, Caplin chalked the discrepancy up to a "logistical issue" that is "not a sign of any other consideration".
"In November, we launched a free shipping promotion for customers within Israel," Caplin told The New Arab in an emailed statement.
"This does not include the Palestinian Territories, as we cannot guarantee the high standard of delivery experience that Amazon customers expect."
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, committing various crimes against Palestinian civilians.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.