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Amazon accused of discriminating against Palestinians

Company offering free shipments to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank

AMAZON has been accused of discrimination by offering free shipment to illegal settlers in the occupied West Bank, but not for Palestinians living there.

The practice was discovered by the Financial Times as it entered illegal settlement addresses into the global online retailer’s delivery portal.

Amazon’s website offered free shipping for orders, saying: “If your shipping address is in Israel, your items are eligible and your total order meets the minimum free shipping threshold of $49 [£37].”

But when the delivery address was listed as “the Palestinian Territories,” customers were not offered free shipping, with charges starting from $24 [£18].

Company spokesman Nick Caplin insisted that Palestinian customers can still take advantage of free delivery if they enter their address and select Israel as the country.

But international human rights lawyer Michael Sfard said Amazon’s policy was “blatant discrimination” on the basis of customer’s nationality.

An Amazon spokesperson also told the Morning Star that the free shipping deal for Israel “does not include the Palestinian Territories, as we cannot guarantee the high standard of delivery experience that Amazon customers expect.”

“This is due to deliveries having to go through local customs regulations and additional inspections at the Palestinian Territories border, as well as packages then having to be handed over to another local delivery operator.

“This is a logistical issue and not a sign of any other consideration.”

Israel’s expansionist settlement programme is deemed illegal under international law and a breach of the Geneva Convention.

As many as 463,000 settlers are believed to be living in the occupied West Bank with a further 300,000 in East Jerusalem.

Both frontrunners in next month’s election, incumbent premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White alliance leader Benny Gantz, have promised to annexe swathes of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley region.

A UN report last week named 112 companies that were profiting from the illegal settlement programme, including Airbnb, Expedia, Opodo and Motorola.

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