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In a new campaign aimed at promoting international support for a settlement boycott, the Palestinian Authority last month sent letters to 50 countries, urging them to clamp down on companies doing business with Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. A senior Palestinian official told the Financial Times in a report published late Thursday that the Palestinian Foreign Ministry had requested that the governments addressed in the letters issue stringent guidelines to companies operating within their borders that conduct business with the settlements. The countries, it was stated, should instruct companies to either freeze their business dealings with the settlements or withdraw their investments altogether. Commercial activity in the settlements is illegal and constitutes a violation of international law, the letters said.