The Campaign against Settlements' Trade
By Ruth Tenne – London
August 11, 2008
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Through a great part of my life the only food I have eaten came from an Israeli source for the simple the reason that I was born in Israel and it was the only choice available. Little was I aware that a significant part of the produce I consumed was grown on fields confiscated by the State of Israel from Palestinian villages which were razed to the ground in the aftermath of the 1948 Israel's "war of independence". No one in my kibbutz ever gave much thought to this fact. Indeed, as children we were taught to believe that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish nation by law, and is part of our biblical and traditional heritage.
The UK forms a large part of the market for settlement produce, which is marketed by an Israeli 50% state-owned company - Carmel-Agrexco. The company clearly profits from Israel's illegal occupation and from the entrenched system of racial apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. In the Jordan Valley of the West Bank, Carmel-Agrexco sets its farms on confiscated Palestinian land offering Palestinian farmers less than a living wage. Carmel-Agrexco can deliver fruits and vegetables to Europe in 24 hours while the produce of Palestinian farmers cannot get through the Israeli military checkpoints and has to be left to rot in the field.
According to the regulations of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA, 2003) the source of produce should be made clear to consumers, and retailer labelling has to state the exact local source of the sold product. In practice, consumers' request, for clear labelling could be channelled through the Manager of their local supermarket, or by complaining to the Head Office of the company. Conscientious consumers may also join store picketing and campaign events organised regularly by BIG, (details could be found on the website - www.bigcampaign.org.uk).
B. Concerned citizens may wish to write to their constituency MP complaining about the entering of produce from the illegal West Bank settlements into the UK market. Such a letter may ask the MP to raise this issue with the Foreign Minister - David Miliband - requesting that produce and goods from the illegal settlements should be banned altogether (a model letter could be found on the website of the BIG campaign-as above). Equally, conscientious citizens may wish to meet with their MP (individually, or in groups) and raise their concern face to face, or hand the MP a signed petition/letter stating their demand.
- Ruth Tenne contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Boycott of Israel now pushed by unions from Ireland, Britain, Canada, and South Africa:
Posted by Boycott Apartheid at 8:28 AM