The latest Israeli demolition highlights why we need to boycott Israeli goods

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On 3 March, Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated a Palestinian agricultural packing house in the village of Cardalah, in the occupied Jordan Valley.

The Jordan Valley, part of the occupied West Bank, is home to 65,000 Palestinians. Since Israel’s military occupation began in 1967, almost 50 illegal Israeli colonies have been established across the Valley, housing 13,000 Israeli colonists. Israel has also repeatedly threatened to annex the Valley.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem tweeted:

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Demolitions like this are a near daily occurrence in the West Bank. During 2021, Israel carried out demolitions of 937 Palestinian structures, displacing almost 1,200 people.

This is at least the second military demolition that’s occurred in the Jordan Valley in the last few weeks.

While Palestinian agricultural infrastructure is subject to demolitions by the Israeli military, Israel’s colonies in the Jordan Valley are getting rich from exporting their products to Europe. These colonies are situated on land stolen from Palestinians using military force.

Apartheid agriculture

The Jordan Valley is a fertile area – known as the bread-basket of the West Bank.

Israel took control of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, by military force in 1967. Since then, Israeli colonists have been establishing lucrative agricultural settlements in the valley, taking advantage of the fertile land and paying low wages to the oppressed Palestinian workforce.

Research group Corporate Occupation found in 2021 that dozens of Israeli companies were operating out of the Jordan Valley colonies, paying Palestinian workers less than the Israeli minimum wage (which they are entitled to under Israeli law), often employing child labour and using dangerous labour practices.

These Israeli agricultural companies in the Jordan Valley are exporting to UK and European supermarkets.

“Water apartheid”

Palestinians in the Jordan Valley have called out the Israeli occupation’s “water apartheid”. Rashid Khudairy – coordinator of campaign group Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) – shared this video:

Israel’s military occupation of the Jordan Valley maintains domination of water resources through demolishing Palestinian water infrastructure and monopolising water supplies for Israeli colonies. According to JVS:

Israel controls 80 percent of Palestinian water resources and Israeli settlers use approximately six times the amount of water used by the 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank. Most settlements are located close to water resources, which Palestinians are restricted from accessing. Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley use large quantities of water to grow agricultural produce for export, while Palestinian farmers struggle to irrigate their crops.

Palestinian communities are at risk of becoming isolated enclaves. The de facto annexation of the fertile land of the Jordan Valley in particular, the food basket of the West Bank, would render a functioning Palestinian State impossible, depriving it of the land and natural resources necessary to sustain itself.

JVS argues:

Water apartheid is used by Israeli occupation forces as a tool for displacement. It is directly connected to the theft of agricultural land, minerals and other resources, and is imposed through settlement expansions and acquisition of territory by force in violation of international law.

Residents of the Jordan Valley and southern Hebron Hills are exposed to the impact of water apartheid on a daily basis and face constant threats from the occupation.

Boycott Israeli apartheid

Don’t believe the mainstream media pundits who say this situation is complicated. It’s actually pretty simple. The Israeli state is using the seizure of land, the demolition of Palestinian infrastructure, and the monopolisation of water resources to benefit Israeli colonists.

Palestinians have called repeatedly for a boycott of Israeli agricultural goods. In 2013, 17 Palestinian organisations made the following call:

We, Palestinian organisations and unions representing farmers struggling for their right to their land and to food sovereignty, urge international civil society organisations to build effective campaigns and work towards ending agricultural trade with Israel that finances and rewards the destruction of Palestinian farming.

In 2020, Corporate Occupation published several interviews with Palestinian agricultural labourers working for Israeli companies on Israel’s Jordan Valley colonies. Many of them made statements in support of the boycott call. Khaled – who worked in the Israeli settlement of Tomer – said:

I wish that everyone around the world would boycott Israeli goods; it is resistance. If the settlement companies closed down because of the boycott I would be happy.

Solidarity

Palestinians have been calling for a boycott of Israeli goods since the 2005 civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, when a coalition of hundreds of Palestinian groups wrote:

We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.

Since 2005, the situation for Palestinians has only got worse. We must not forget the Palestinian communities who are continuing to resist Israel’s occupation by refusing to leave their lands. Those of us who oppose racism, colonialism, and apartheid must heed their call and boycott Israeli goods.

Featured image via Ahmed Abu Hameeda/Unsplash (resized to 770 x 403 pixels)

Get involved

  • Read more about the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement
  • Boycott the companies that provide the machinery used in Israel’s demolitions, including British company JCB
  • Check our Corporate Occupation‘s Apartheid In the Fields report
  • Find out more about Jordan Valley Solidarity’s Stop Water Apartheid campaign

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