Settlement: Forbidden Fruits and Stolen Roads

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shooting-range 620Lebanon, (Pal Telegraph) – The “Israeli” government approved on a new settlement and “development” plan called E1. It is irrelevant to think that this plan came in response to the Palestinian bid for being an observer member at the United Nations.


The plan came into force since 2004 by the Ministry of Housing and Ma’aleh Adumim Municipality. The stolen lands will reach 12 thousand donum and building 3500 housing units. The only part of the frozen plan that was implemented since then is building a general headquarters of “Israeli” Police.  However, they didn’t consider building the center as having new de-facto ; nor within the “natural growth” needs which is considered as the most shameless propaganda of the colonialism in Palestine.

 Ma’aleh Adumim, 50 square kilometers, is the biggest settlement in the West Bank where its population reaches 36,000 settlers. This settlement is compared to Tel Aviv in terms of space area note that the number of settlers of Ma’aleh Adumim doesn’t exceed 10% of Tel Aviv’s. Nevertheless, this settlement is expanding and growing constantly.

Along with the police center building in this area, an alternative streets network funded by the American Development Agency (USAID) and other donors was built. This network is a later alternative for the roads between the north and the south of the West Bank, where the maintenance of Ramallah-Jericho road (Moarajat) is included in plan E1 by a Japanese funding; the project started but remained unfinished. The project includes the expanding of the main street to Jericho that took place in the past years.

These projects were the implementation of plan E1 and the preparation of the infrastructure of existing settlements and expanding operations later on. Moreover, this was related to a wider framework where RAND center, an American research center related to Pentagon, came out with (Arc Theory).

This theory is a project for a new Palestinian road network according to the map; the project aims to integrate Palestinian cities in one transport network through building a railway connecting West Bank cities . This means canceling the natural connections between Palestinian cities considering the current connections as unhelpful and restricted to the development in the state stage.

Furthermore, it is expected that the population of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza Strip will increase from 3.6 million people to 6.6 million people in 2020 on 2300 square mile.

The current population of Palestine is 1400 people per one square mile which is the highest population in the world comparing it to other countries. For example, the population of Netherland (the highest population in Europe) is 1200 people in the square mile, and the population of “Israel” is 770 people in the square mile.

By 2020 Palestine with a population of 2400 in the square mile, will exceed the population rate of Bangladesh of 2200 . The situation will not remain the same since more lands will be stolen and the population growth rate will be increased making Palestine as the highest population rate in the world.

Serious boycott:

The boycott campaign the Ministry of Economy launched isn’t serious enough, where it is limited to formal procedures and some symbolic steps and media show. According to the data of Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Palestinian workers in Israeli settlements increased from 11 thousand workers by the end of the first quarter of 2011 to 12 thousand workers by the end of the second quarter of 2011 , and increased from 15 thousand workers by the end of the second quarter of 2012 to 16 thousand workers by the end of the third quarter of 2012 .

This indicates the ineffectiveness of the campaign of boycotting settlements products. Moreover, the Ministry of Economy considers that the problem lies only in settlements products and not the Israeli products in general!! While boycotting all Israeli products would be more effective. There were some political announcements concerning this campaign but without any procedures aiming to reduce the Palestinian dependency on the occupation economy.

Israeli agricultural exports increased to 16% in 2011 mainly exporting to different European countries and North America , where Israel takes advantage of its relations with some European companies to enter Arab markets. The New TV, a Lebanese channel, broadcasted an investigative report about the exported Israeli agricultural products through Dutch companies into Lebanese shopping centers.

These companies didn’t change the origin of the products and exported them directly to its customers in Lebanon. However, the Gulf market is the main target for Israeli exporters starting from seeds and agricultural fertilizers to clothing industry, and this is because of Gulf’s high buying power and prosperous economy.

The international companies aren’t only involved in marketing these products in the Arab World because of political and economic considerations, but some of the international governments such as the Dutch government banned the funding of the Palestinians activities in boycott campaign.

As well as listing different Palestinian NGOs that support boycott campaign (BDS) as barred from the funding of the Dutch government or benefiting from the money government pays to UN working commissions in Palestine. It was expected that the Palestinian government should question this action in practical term, and also it had to support the boycott campaign politically, financially, and practically which something has so far not happened.

Despite of all the political changes, ongoing demonstrations Egypt witnessed in front the Israeli embassy in Cairo and the reformation of the Islamic Brotherhood government, the Israeli exports into Egypt didn’t decrease. According to the Israel Exports and International Cooperation Institute, the exporting of goods to Egypt increased of 60% in the last year to $236 million. The Export Institute refers to this increase to Egypt’s need of chemicals especially the agricultural fertilizers. However, the Egyptian imports to Israel decreased of 50% in the last year to $ 180 . This proves the fact that Israel can be looked at as the good visa to enter the USA.

Boycotting the Israeli products and the affiliated international companies needs Palestinians’ action first. This campaign launched in Ramallah by the Ministry of Economy, but this campaign failed to convince big markets to stop purchasing settlement products; many rich and middle-class traders don’t buy local products. In response to the policy of Netanyahu-Liberman to hold back the flow of tax-custom money, Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Prime Minister, called for overall boycott of Israeli products.

Even if Amira Hass described the boycott campaign as infeasible, which is true that stopping the demand for Israeli products will not lead to the collapse of “Israel” Economy, but the demand for the national products will increase and the alternative national products will be produced.

This will also enhances the loyalty of Palestinians toward the national products and they will produce alternative national products; this means that they will stop paying their money on Israeli products, and then the boycott campaign will have an effective impact on national, Arab, and international levels.

The fact that the Palestinian market doesn’t have influence on the Israeli economy is not true. The total exports of Israel to the 10th most important countries of the three quarters of 2012 (UK, USA, China, Netherland, Germany, Turkey, India, France, Italy, Brazil ) has reached $ 19 million except for diamond trade. “Israel” exported of $3 billion to Palestine; therefore, Palestine is the second place after USA and the first place as an export destination in terms of population and economy size. It’s worthy to note that military industry and security technology aren’t purchased to Palestinians, and they are not listed within international trade statistics because the research centers belong to Israeli occupation; Palestinian market isn’t separated from the Israeli market and it is listed in the counting of VAT not customs.

Despite of the European statements against the settlements, the trade between UK and “Israel” increased to $2.09 billion till the end of 2012 where it grew 9% comparing it with the last year’s rate. Israel also strengthened ties with China where exports increased to 18% of $2 million, covering the deficit of -25% with Turkey ($1 billion) .

The purchase of Israeli goods is being marketed through different names and ways. The Israeli companies trickery about the origin of the products (strawberry, avocado, watermelon, banana, dates, tomato, wine… etc) should be resolved by including these products within the list of suspicious goods, and dealing with these products the same as with diamonds (the products that tainted with bloodshed and looting) beside a lot of security products that Israel exports to a wide range of European countries and other world countries.

“Israel” tests these products on many Palestinian victims.  In order to restrict the entering of Israeli products into Arab markets, there should be panel clauses and control procedures on exporting international companies to Arab markets. Therefore, the challenge here is to prevent Israeli products from entering not only Europe, but also Arab World; in which Israeli trade starts to prosper. These parts of Arab World could be supportive and respondent to the calls of boycotting Israeli products.

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