Thursday, February 25, 2010

Major BDS Victory in Europe: "EU court: West Bank goods not Israeli"

Ha'aretz and YNet are both carrying an Associated Press report on a major victory for BDS in Europe:
In a ruling touching on the status of the West Bank, the European Union high court said Thursday the disputed area is not part of Israel and Israeli goods made there are subject to EU import duties. The ruling has no immediate bearing on the Mideast peace process. But for trade purposes, it argues Israel has no standing in the area where it has built settlements and where its companies make such products as cookies, pretzels, wines, cosmetics and computer equipment. The ruling opens the door to EU import duties on Israeli goods from the West Bank rendering those products less competitive.
The Ha'aretz article also the connection between the settlement enterprise and exploitative labor practices toward Palestinian workers--practices, we might add, that echo those of apartheid South Africa--and highlighted the work of European civil society in targeting settlement goods based on international law:
Many of the settlements there use Palestinian workers, who earn less than their counterparts in Israel. But since Palestinians are largely barred from working in Israel and have few job opportunities in the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, jobs in settlement factories are sought after. Pro-Palestinian groups in Europe are likely to be pleased by Thursday's ruling because they regularly protest in European supermarkets to complain about Israeli labels on farm products from the West Bank. Israel continues to build settlements there that are widely seen as illegal under international law and a hindrance to the search for peace with the Palestinians.
Congratulations to our compatriots in the European BDS movement for this victory! Get involved with BDS in your community--click here to learn more.