Arab Israelis Boycott West Bank Products



By: BEV SPITZER  
Published: May 9th 2010
in News » Israel

West Bank made goods include fruit
Pic: fotolia

Israeli-Arab retailers are being urged to place lists of settlement-made items in their establishments, notifying shoppers which products to avoid.

 

Among close to 1000 companies “to avoid,” according to Israeli Arab leaders, are Ahava Dead Sea products, Beigel & Beigel pretzels, Super Drink soft drinks, and Openheimer chocolates.

 

“We are launching a campaign across the entire Arab sector to boycott all goods manufactured in the West Bank settlements,” said Mansour Dahamshy, chairman of the Kafr Kana public committee. “We mean to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and wage battle against the settlements and the occupation,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

 

Dozens of community-based organizations and NGOs are scheduled to be represented at a conference in Nazareth where the campaign will be formally initiated.

 

“As part of the Palestinian people, it is our role to assist in the international efforts to boycott settlement-made products. We aim to free the West Bank of settlements, and one way of doing that is by harming their economy,” said Dahamshy.

 

He added that he feels all production in the West Bank should be owned and operated by Palestinians, not Israelis or settlers.

 

“We need to help the Palestinian economy to sustain itself and not leave it dependent on settler-owned companies,” Dahmshy continued. “It is also in Israel’s interest to strengthen the Palestinian people and give them hope for a better future. As it stands, the settlers take advantage of the Palestinian people, whom they hate, and do nothing to improve their condition.”

 

According to boycott organizers, the list of settlement-produced goods includes more than 1,000 items, including everything from fruits and vegetables to computers.

 

“We will place the list in shops and place stickers requesting that people abstain from purchasing settlement-made goods,” said Dahamshy. “Arab shopkeepers will be ashamed to sell the goods anymore after that.”

 

Dani Dayan, chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, feels differently, however. “This is not an autonomous decision by the Israeli Arabs,” he said. “They are following a decision by [PA Prime Minister] Salam Fayyad, who burned Israeli [settlement] products in [the West Bank village of] Sulfit. What we are seeing here is a complete identification, and not for the first time, by the Arab population of Israel with the Palestinian Authority.”

 

According to Dayan, this type of boycott is a violation of the 1994 Paris agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

 

Right-wing MKs have said, however, that it is nearly impossible to differentiate between goods manufactured in the West Bank, and Israeli goods altogether.

 

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon took part in an Economic Affairs committee meeting at the Knesset earlier in the week. “We do not differentiate between a boycott of goods from Judea and Samaria and a boycott of any other Israeli goods,” he said.

 

“The boycott is in violation of signed Israel-Palestinian agreements,” Ayalon continued. “Not only does the Israeli public feel that the boycott is psychologically the same, it is also operatively a boycott against Israel because it impacts the entire Israeli economy.”

 

There are others who agree as well, that the ultimate intent of the embargo is to eventually extend it to all Israeli goods.

 

Regardless, it appears that either way, it would be difficult for even a contained economic adjustment not to extend beyond itself, affecting Israel as a whole.




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