Holy Land: campaign calls to boycott goods from illegal Israeli settlements

 The BOYCOTT ISRAELI GOODS CAMPAIGN (BIG) is now launching a new campaign, calling on shoppers not to buy Israeli goods, and especially goods from the settlements ­ often misleadingly labelled 'West Bank.'

It is also asking supermarkets to stop selling Israeli goods, and to stop colluding with Israel's export of goods from the illegal settlements.

In July this year TV channel More4 and several national newspapers featured graphic reports about British supermarkets selling goods exported from illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank.

At the same time genuine Palestinian producers are being prevented from producing and exporting goods by the Israel authorities. On 23 August, 44 peace activists sailed to Gaza to challenge the siege.

Kim Howells the Minister responsible for relations with Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has stated that it "is essential that customers can make an informed choice between Palestinian produce and produce from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."

This new campaign, led by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Jews for Boycotting of Israeli Goods (JBIG) is part of a wider international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Apartheid Israel. The boycott is being supported by more than 180 civil society organisations and unions in the West Bank, until Israel abides by international law and respects Palestinian rights.

The campaign will feature a sustained programme of direct action by local branches across the country, with support from trade union members and faith groups. There will be initial Week of Action from September 20 ­ 27 with letters to supermarket HQ and branches and demonstrations.

A campaign spokesperson said: "We are calling for a boycott of all Israeli goods, but also especially drawing attention to settlement goods. At present Israel exports fruit and vegetables grown in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Britain is one of the largest importers. These settlements are illegal under international law. To be complicit in this crime is also a crime in English law. These goods are often inaccurately labelled 'Produce of Israel', or misleadingly as 'West Bank', causing customers to believe they are Palestinian goods. These goods also benefit, illicitly, from the preferential rates of customs duty under the EC-Israeli Preferential Trade Agreement, thereby costing the British taxpayer millions of pounds in unpaid customs duty.

"There are plentiful alternative sources of supply for all Israeli goods stocked by supermarkets ­ such as fresh herbs and medjoul dates and other fruit and vegetables. Many supermarkets claim to have ethical trading policies. They should now prove it."

Israel militarily controls every aspect of Palestinian life in Gaza , the West Bank and East Jerusalem , occupied since 1967

The establishment of settlements in the West Bank violates international humanitarian law which establishes principles that apply during war and occupation. Moreover, the settlements lead to the infringement of international human rights law.

Aid agencies report a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza because of the Israeli imposed siege ("The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion", Oxfam, Amnesty International, CAFOD, Trocaire, Save the Children, Care International, March 2008)

Source: BIG

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