Sanction call over Israel barrier

The Palestinian Authority has urged global action against firms which supply Israel with products to build its controversial West Bank barrier.

Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa said he would ask the UN to punish anyone contributing to building the barrier.

In an interview with Reuters news agency, he said the US firm, Caterpillar, was supplying earth-moving machinery to the Israeli army.

Caterpillar says all sales to Israel comply with US law.

The Israeli barrier has been ruled illegal by the UN's World Court, because it is being built on occupied territory.

Israel says the barrier, made of concrete walls and razor-wire fences, is a legitimate way to stop suicide bombers.

'Illegal activities'
"We want to see some concrete measures," Mr Kidwa said.

"We are proposing completely punitive measures against entities, companies and individuals that contribute to the construction of the wall and other illegal activities in the occupied Palestinian territory."

Mr Kidwa said such measures could include undertakings by the UN member state not to issue visas or work contracts to firms linked with the barrier.

Palestinians and the UN say the barrier causes great hardship to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank, cutting them off from hospitals, schools and jobs.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 1967.