(photo: Days of Palestine)

The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements stated, in its latest periodic-report regarding the boycott of Israel, that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement achieved remarkable successes, over the past year, at the domestic, regional and international levels, seeking to impose international isolation over the apartheid regime that has been established by Israel in the occupied territories, including areas within the 1948 lines of historic Palestine, now recognized as Israel.

Subsequently, with regard to the International Criminal Court (ICC) resolution to investigate Israeli war crimes, it was noted that Israel is very concerned with the progress of the movement, as well as with follow-ups to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s intention to publish, at the beginning of 2020, the so-called “black list” of companies working in Israeli settlements constructed in the occupied Palestinian Territories since the 1967 aggression — which, in turn, leads to boycotting and certainly forcing the proprietors to leave the West Bank.

From within the spectrum of achieved successes, by the BDS Movement, rose the European Union High Court’s ruling — made possible through efforts exerted by the boycott movement, related associations, and human rights organizations — to label goods which are manufactured or produced in settlements, which are illegal and constitute a major obstacle for peace, and then exported to the EU’s States.

Likewise, the step-up in support of 8 million European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) has extended to the BDS Movement, through suspending the partnership agreement signed between the European Union and Israel, as the latter is in gross and continual violation of human rights in Palestine. Also worth mentioning is the Laborers’ Unions of Britain, which represents 48 unions and some 6,000,000 people who voted to end arms trade with Israel.

Although Israelis maneuver to disclose real numbers of the heavy agricultural, commercial, industrial, and military losses to the Israeli Government, as well as the great damages to its academic, commercial and media-related fields, with regard to continued BDS campaigns, they have been mobilized, along with other Zionist lobbies and parties, to call for the American administration’s interference, in order to enact laws — especially in Europe — for countering and criminalizing the BDS Movement.

In its periodical report on BDS affairs, the National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlements tackled the most prominent activities and events carried out by various human rights organizations, solidarity committees, and BDS activists, through last December, 2019. The highlights are as follows:

In Europe, the Palestinian Community in Madrid, in cooperation with BDS activists,  raised anti-settlement banners and flags of Palestine during “an economic normalization symposium,” under the title “Peace Islands,” referring to Israeli settlements and settlers in their attempt to prettify and legalize the constructions before Spanish society. But, finally, the organizers were forced to cancel the demonstration. In Madrid, activists of the international boycott movement also placed posters, in the streets of the Spanish capital, against a visiting settler delegation, and also widely circulated posters of the President of the West Bank Settlements Council, Yossi Dagan, showing him building a wall with the bodies of slain Palestinians, nearby.

In Belgium, the Prime Minister of Wallonia, Elio de Robo, and the former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium, as well as two local Belgian organizations, refrained from visiting Israel with a trade delegation as they came to understand just how Israel violates International Law and remains a barrier to peace. Also worth mentioning is Brussels’ Foreign Minister of Trade, Pascal Smith, tweeting: “The step is a great victory for supporters of BDS activists.”

In Austria, the BDS Movement affirmed that its pro-Palestine activities and events are stepping up, as the Palestinian cause is a just one, stressing that the movement’s activities are directed against the Israeli occupation’s practices, but not against Jews in general. This assertion comes at a time when Austrian parties are preparing to vote on a parliamentary draft bill which condemns all forms of hostility against Jews, including “anti-Semitism related to Israel.” The draft is scheduled to be voted on next month, in condemnation of the BDS movement’s economic and cultural boycott to Israel, as it calls for boycotting Israeli products and companies, as well as Israeli artists, scientists, and athletes, in conjunction.

In the United Kingdom, the head of the Solidarity Campaign for Palestine, Bin Jamal, emphasized that the boycott campaign seeks to “hold Israel responsible for violating the International Law, and the rights of the Palestinians.” He added: “The failure to take such action against Israel is merely a collusion.” For this, Israelis are engaged in a number of international campaigns to introduce laws against BDS. So, it acts with impunity. He further added: “All those who believe in International Law, Human Rights, and Freedom of Expression have to strongly oppose such maneuver[s].” Bin Jamal and the boycott activists’ statements in the United Kingdom came in response to the new British government headed by Boris Johnson and his intention to prevent universities and local councils from organizing any activity against Israeli apartheid.

In Sweden, Group 194 issued a formal response to the Tobias Center for Political Research — which is supported by the same Zionist lobby that attacked Director of the Center for Human Development Samer Manna’s visit to the Swedish Parliament — condemning the suspicious pens. Within this context, the group also promised to take appropriate legal measures against those who harm both the Palestinian cause and Palestinian–Swedish relations. It was noted that the Tobias report reviewed Mana’s calls for boycotting Israel economically, culturally, and academically, as an effective tool to counter Zionist apartheid regime and its terrorism.

In Greece, large angry rallies came out into streets of Athens, moving toward the Israeli embassy, refusing Israeli occupation PM Netanyahu’s visit, and demanding the cancellation of the natural gas pipeline deal (EASTMED); the gas, which was stolen from the Palestinian Natural resources, by the Israeli occupation, and then sold to Europe through Greece and Cyprus, consequently links the Greek economy with that of the Israeli occupation, directly.

In America, BDS activities at American universities have recently increased, according to periodic reports of Jewish students in various American academic institutions. However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s view on the Arab League’s recent statement, which rejected the American resolution which considers the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as legal, and not in violation of International Law, now poses an unprecedented level of incitement. Pompeo tweeted: “It is time for Arab States to give up the boycott, and to work with Israel.”

For his part, the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs and Likud party member, Gilad Erdan, has launched a violent attack against Palestinian NGOs, calling on the European Union to stop funding them, accusing them of having a relationship with terrorist groups, and citing their close relationship with BDS. Furthermore, Erdan sent a letter to the new European Union FM, Joseph Burrell, asking him to be sure that the EU’s funds are not misused.

In Palestine, the BDS Movement has renewed its calls to put pressure on Microsoft to end its investments in the Israeli company “Annie Vision,” as it works in developing a biological identification technique used to monitor the Palestinians. Within that context, the Palestinian Consumer Protection Council also called for confronting the Israeli occupation government’s resolution to withhold tax revenues, as the issue is purely a Palestinian matter.

~ Mah’d Zaban/ NBPRS/ PNN

(edited for the IMEMC by c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g)

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