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Gaza farmers call for boycott of Israeli firms

Feb. 9, 2013 7:18 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 10, 2013 7:54 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of farmers marched towards Gaza's border with Israel on Saturday to demand a boycott of Israeli agricultural firms, a local union said.

The Union for Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza said in a statement that protestors also gathered in dozens of European cities to protest against Israeli company Mehadrin, which operates in illegal settlements and exports citrus fruits, dates and other produce.

"The boycotts of Israeli agriculture companies are so important as the Israeli occupation has destroyed our farming production and denied us the possibility of exporting our own products," farmer Mustapha Arafat said.

"International pressure on Israel is the only way our own economy will be allowed to develop and for us to live normal lives," he added.

Protests took place in cities across France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the Gaza union said.

"Agriculture is a vital part of our economy and national heritage but it is being systematically destroyed and these companies are the primary beneficiaries," Dr. Taha Rifae, director of the grassroots department at the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, said.

"By trading with companies such as Mehadrin, European supermarkets are financing the dispossession of Palestinian farmers."
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