Ramallah, occupied West Bank - Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah at around midday on Saturday in a march calling on Palestinians to ramp up their efforts in boycotting Israeli goods.
A few weeks ahead of Israeli Apartheid Week, the march was organized by the Palestinian National Initiative’s 'Bader Boycott Campaign’ as a means to rekindle and reinforce the boycott movement amongst Palestinians.
'Bader’ in Arabic means 'Take the Initiative’.
Marchers raised Palestinian flags and pickets and bellowed chants along the streets including “Netanyahu you’re a coward!”; “No Israeli products on our shelves!”; “Down with Israel”; “With our souls and our blood we will free you Palestine!”
Israel sells at least three billion dollars worth of goods in the occupied Palestinian territories, making Palestine Israel’s second largest market in the world.
Ahmad, one of the participants in the demonstration, is a student from the city of Tulkarem. “I came here today because I support the boycott of Israeli goods to resist the occupation. We [Palestinians] need to do more to stop Israel,” he said.
Fares, another marcher, told Palestine Monitor that he supports the boycott of Israeli goods because "the money from their products goes to the Israeli army and helps to murder Palestinians or steal land."
Speaking with Palestine Monitor, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative said that the recent land grab law spurred the march. “We organised this activity today to expand the boycott campaign against Israeli products as one way of resisting occupation and to enhance popular non-violent resistance against occupation. Israel is benefitting from our economy. In buying Israeli products, we support the occupation. We have to make the occupation lose. They will not end the occupation; they will not stop unless their losses outweigh their gains.”
In a leaflet by Bader, it is claimed that the boycott movement has succeeded in reducing Palestinian purchase of Israeli food products by 60%. Meanwhile, the consumption of Palestinian products rose in 2015 from 20 to 40%, according to the leaflet.
A report by the World Bank stated a 24% decrease in imports from Israel in 2015 due to reduced economic activity and “a growing trend among Palestinian consumers to substitute products imported from Israel by those from other countries.”