Palestine Urges Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions


Communities living in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank have been living under Israeli military occupation since 1967. PHOTO: Kashfi Halford
Communities living in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank have been living under Israeli military occupation since 1967. PHOTO: Kashfi Halford

In 2005, Palestinian organizations started the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) to bring attention to struggles in Palestine. The conflict started after World War II, when Palestinians were forced to leave their homes to make room for the new state of Israel that was established for Jewish immigrants, including many Holocaust survivors. In a 1967 war, Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza, driving out another 300,000 Palestinians and establishing a military occupation in these territories.

The BDS* movement argues Palestinians are denied human rights under Israeli rule. It asks people and organizations worldwide to boycott, divest and sanction Israel until the Israeli government tears down the separation wall between Palestine and Israel (which keeps Palestinians from traveling within and leaving their own country without Israeli permission), gives full equality to Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and respects Palestinians’ rights to maintain and return to their homes under United Nations Resolution 194.

Palestinian woman having her identification card checked by an Israeli Defense Force soldier. PHOTO: Kashfi Halford
Palestinian woman having her identification card checked by an Israeli Defense Force soldier. PHOTO: Kashfi Halford

The BDS movement has growing international support from unions, Christian organizations, university groups and celebrities. Nevertheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “Attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust. Moreover, they will not achieve their goal.” However, Palestinian activist, Diana al-Zeer said to BBC, “We’re here to demand a Palestinian existence on Palestinian land….Palestinian houses here are being demolished, Palestinians are being thrown off their land and we’re here to say ‘no’ to all of this.”**

*BDS activists want people to boycott (not purchase) Israeli-made products, divest (withdraw support) from companies benefitting from human rights violations there and sanction (refuse to trade with) Israel.

**The Israeli government has been bulldozing their houses to make room for new homes for Jewish settlers on Palestinian land, which are illegal under international law. This has made peace talks more complicated.

1 thought on “Palestine Urges Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions”

  1. Susan Ridgeway

    To the editor:
    I am writing in response to your article, Palestine Urges Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. I am a librarian who has tremendous respect for your publication and chose to bring it into my school district because of your factual content, so I am distressed that this article was published without adequate fact checking.
    The author chose a wonderful topic and I applaud her for attempting to bring this conflict to light for young students. Unfortunately, it is extremely misleading because it does not provide enough history for children to understand its origins. The conflict started after WWII because this piece of land was given to Jewish refugees before and after the war. Most European Jews had no homes to go to after being liberated from the concentration camps. Some tried to return to their homelands like Poland, Czechoslovakia, or other European nations and were killed.
    This land was historically considered to be a part of Syria. The people who lived there did not call themselves Palestinians. The name came much later to those Arabs who left and resettled in the refugee camps, after the 1967 Six-Day War.
    The United Kingdom owned the land and ceded it through the Balfour Declaration to establish a national homeland for Jews in 1917. The League of Nations agreed to set this piece of land aside to secure a Jewish National Home during 1922 because of the historical connections of Jews having lived in Palestine one thousands years ago. Very few people lived there at the time it was designated a Jewish homeland, and it was a blighted region.
    Also, it is important to note that Arabs were not forced to leave this area as your author states. This is a myth. In 1965 and 1966, Syria began shelling the Golan Heights. In 1967, Egypt blockaded the Suez Canal and would not let any ships through. This blocked supply routes to and from Asia and prevented oil from coming to Israel. At that time, none of the Arab states surrounding Israel, recognized Israel’s right to exist, and declared it would drive the Jews into the sea. Armies from Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan ringed Israel and threatened them daily, so Israel chose to defend itself.
    Many Arabs were displaced and the Israeli Army moved them out and helped resettle them when they could. Another 325,000 Arabs left to move to Jordan because they lived in areas already owned by Jordan. Arab politicians encouraged this and spread rumors in United Nation camps that all young people would be killed. Some left because they did not want to live in a country that was ruled by Jews. Many PLO factions fled capture by Israeli forces, and left to go to other Arab countries. After the war in 1967, more than 9000 families returned and were reunited with their families. Eventually more than 60,000 Palestinians were allowed to return. Today their descendants live in Israel, are allowed to vote, serve in the Knesset, (the Congress of Israel) and serve in the IDF, or Israeli Defense Forces.
    Since the founding of Israel, Arabs and the PLO have waged war on Israel by committing terrorist acts. They have bombed areas of the borders, they have sent in suicide bombers and this is why Israel built a wall to protect their citizens. In 2003, Israel agreed to freeze settlements when the PLO and other Arab terrorist organizations stopped all violent acts against its citizens. That has never happened. The borders are shelled nearly every day and you never hear about it in the news. There is no mention of the millions of dollars that flow into the PLO coffers from Arab countries, rich with oil, to fund these terrorist acts. Imagine what this money could build for the Palestinians. There is no mention of Arab on Arab violence and how the PLO will not allow any of its citizens to make peace with Israel. There is no democracy in Palestinian territories. There is no mention about how the schools in the camps and in Arab counties teach their children to hate the Jews.
    It is important to remember that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and Israel has a right to defend itself just as the US would do if it were continually bombed by Canada or Mexico. Think about this. I know this because my son lived in Israel and will marry an Israeli girl who served in the IDF, in a few days. Everyone must serve to protect Israel when they graduate from high school. Please do more research and don’t believe everything you read.

    Susan Ridgeway, MLIS
    Wooster City Schools
    Wooster, Ohio

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