Thursday, October 01, 2020

BDS in West Bank grows stronger

By Mona Martin - February 10, 2015
Section: [Main News] [BDS]
Tags: [BDS]

The head of a higher Palestinian Authority committee in charge of confronting Israeli practices against the Palestinians announced Monday that they will prohibit the entry of merchandise from six large Israeli companies into the West Bank as of February 11.

The affected companies are Strauss, Elite (which is part of the Strauss Group Ltd), Tnuva, Jafora-Tabori, Osem and Prigat. These companies produce dairy products, sweets and beverages, among others.

Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul said they would give Palestinian merchants two weeks time to shed any products from mentioned companies that they may still have in stock.

The ban is only a first step of the long-term strategy of boycotting all Israeli-made products, not differentiating between products produced inside the UN-acknowledged borders of the Green Line and outside.

The boycott is a reaction to Israel's on-going acquisition of Palestinian land by expanding settlements and the attempt to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) into withdrawing President Mahmoud Abbas’ accession to 20 international treaties, including the International Criminal Court (ICC). Israel has been holding back Palestinian tax revenue for the last two months, money which is the main source of PA income and covers civil servants' salaries, pensions and governmental expenditures.

By holding back this money Israel threatens the stability of the PA and the West Bank.

Only with the help of international donations and a loan of local banks was the PA able to pay 60% of both December and January's salaries.

According to General Secretary of the Palestine National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti, the boycott of the six Israeli companies was a compromise between the desires of Palestinian grassroot initiatives and the PA. While grassroots initiatives demand a boycott of all Israeli products, the Palestinian Authority, up until now, only intended to boycott products produced in Israeli settlements.

As Barghouti explained in an interview with the Palestine Monitor, the products now chosen for boycott can all be substituted through Palestinian equivalents. The long-term goal is, however, the boycott of all Israeli products in order to address the economic asymmetry between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Israel currently exports nearly USD 5.3 billion worth of goods to the Palestinian territories every year, while only 700 million flow in the reverse direction. 

Since Israel implies severe economic sanctions, which obstruct Palestinian economic development drastically, it is important to become independent from Israel's economy in the long run, said Barghouti. 

Further, Barhgouti continued, even if Israel decides to resume the flow of Palestinian tax revenues to the PA, the Palestinian boycott of Israeli products will be continued.




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