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Fatah leader: Peace process is dead, Palestinians must boycott Israeli goods

Oct. 25, 2016 5:26 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 25, 2016 7:27 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- International Relations Commissioner for the Fatah movement Nabil Shaath called on Palestinians to begin a full-fledged consumer boycott of Israel in an interview with The Arab Weekly on Tuesday.

“A consumer boycott should be the Palestinians’ weapon against Israel,” the newspaper quoted Shaath as saying.

Referring to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has failed and been revived numerous times, Shaath said Palestinians should “wake up from their dreams of peace,” adding that the peace process should be declared dead.

“Rights are not given, but taken by force,” Shaath said, saying the biggest strength Palestinians have against Israel’s military, air force, and navy, was public action.

“If anything, past experiences and alterations in the world and around us in the region tell us that we should start depending on ourselves, not wait for others to give us our rights,” Shaath said.

Shaath criticized peace brokers like the United States and France -- who announced its efforts to renew a multilateral peace initiative earlier this year -- saying that those countries “cannot realistically put pressure on Israel.”

“Israel does not give anything to anybody for free,” Shaath said. “It will never give us our land if the cost of occupying this land is not far higher than leaving it.”

He went on to emphasize his call on fellow Palestinians to “depend on themselves more” through an economic boycott of Israel.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel was launched ten years ago by Palestinian civil society, and has been steadily gaining steam internationally over the past few years.

International successes of the BDS movement have led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call it a “strategic threat” for Israel and allocate state resources to fight it.

The movement, which calls for the academic, economic, and cultural isolation of Israel, gained renewed momentum in the occupied Palestinian territory following the 2014 Gaza war.

Boycott calls were renewed again at the beginning of last year after the Israeli government refused to pay tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA), in a move that was designed to punish the PA after it applied for membership to the International Criminal Court.

“The Palestinian boycott of Israeli products is spreading and becoming more entrenched, especially among younger Palestinians,” Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement, said at the time.

A poll by the the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted in June 2015 reported that the overwhelming majority of those interviewed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- 86 percent -- said they supported the campaign to boycott Israeli products.

However, due to the Israeli occupation's control over the Palestinian economy, consumers in the occupied Palestinian territory have limited options and are a captive market for Israeli companies.
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