A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements, June 5, 2015. AFP/THOMAS COEX
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French telecom giant Orange SA's declaration that it wants to cut business ties with Israel has given a boost to the burgeoning anti-Israel boycott movement while also drawing a sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.The move bodes poorly for Israel at a time of growing international anger over its West Bank settlements and could potentially put almost any Israeli company in the crosshairs of the boycott campaign. The remarks came a day after Orange's Chief Executive Stephane Richard said he would end his company's relationship with Partner Communications Ltd.Pro-Palestinian activists in France have been pushing for Orange to end the relationship over Partner's activities in Israeli settlements. With Richard's comments, Orange appeared to become the largest and best-known company to yield to pressure from a global movement calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.Activists have also called attention to activities in Israel of French companies Danone, L'Oreal, hotel chain Accor and energy company Veolia.Orange, one of the world's largest telecom companies, provides mobile phone services in about 30 countries. Last week, Israel fended off a Palestinian attempt to kick it out of the global soccer body FIFA.
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