Why Palestinians call for boycotts against Israel

Abir Kopty in The National:

The Palestinian cause is not a charity. The international community, however, has often failed to grasp the nature of the struggle for justice, preferring to channel funds to Palestinian “development” projects to compensate for the lack of will to put serious pressure on Israel. That mentality has been challenged by two recent reports that suggest that lip service to justice for Palestinians could be transformed into critical action.

The report Trading away peace: How Europe helps sustain the illegal Israeli settlements, written by more than 20 European nongovernmental organisations and published last week, reveals that the value of EU imports from settlements is approximately 15 times the annual value of EU imports from Palestinians.

Moreover, much of the EU money given to Israel for research and development has been used to directly support activities in settlements. The report explains that many European-owned companies are profiting from Israeli settlement and the occupation, such as G4S (UK/Denmark), Alstom (France), Veolia (France) and Heidelberg Cement (Germany).

“If EU aid is to have lasting impact and not only perpetuate the status quo,” the report reads, “governments need to invest not only money, but also political will to address the root causes of Palestinian poverty and aid dependency.”

The authors recommend several measures, including a ban on imports from settlements, a cessation of funding for settlements and the exclusion of settlement products, and of companies operating in settlements, from the public procurement process.

Boycotting the settlements is the minimum that must be done. The settlements, colonisation of Palestinian land and the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians who are being forced from their homes are all part of Israel’s plan. This affects all Palestinians, not only those who are in the territories occupied since 1967. Israel as a whole should be boycotted and isolated to force it to end these policies.

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