Written by Citizens of Israel, AIC, 5 June 2007
Citizens of Israel in support of the proposal for a UNISON Economic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
We Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel strongly support the proposal for UNISON to implement an economic and cultural boycott of Israel. We commend this proposal, especially in the wake of the historic decision by the University and College Union in Britain and similar proposals by the Architects for Peace and Justice in Palestine and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. Actions such as these have an immediate impact within Israel. They receive wide coverage in the mainstream media and provide an extremely effective tool in our joint struggle to bring the occupation to a just end.
We are Israeli citizens active against our country’s occupation of Palestine. We refuse to accept the state of poverty, unemployment, oppression and violence from which our Palestinian brothers and sisters are suffering in the OPT. We stress the connections between the violent oppression of the Palestinians in the OPT, and the oppression of the working poor, women, immigrant workers, the unemployed, Arabs, and other minority groups within Israel. The ongoing conflict in the region prevents Israeli workers from effectively mobilizing against neo-liberal reforms and an accelerated process of privatization, under the guise of an ongoing state of emergency in which national security always take precedence over sectarian needs.
It is now evident that the so-called disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 has, in fact, kept the military occupation of the strip intact. Since the implementation of the disengagement plan in August 2005, the Israeli military has killed more than 590 Palestinians in direct conflict in the Gaza Strip, including 113 children, and injured over 1,600, including 103 children. It is also evident that the current situation in Sderot is the direct consequence of Israel’s continuing aggression in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Since the ruling of the ICJ court in Hague against the Separation Wall, and in blatant violation of that ruling, the Israeli government has accelerated construction of the Wall, leading to progressive violations of the human rights of residents of the West Bank. It also continues to build and expand settlements, including on land confiscated for the purpose of building the Wall, illegal according to international law.
As citizens devoted to the promotion of peace and democracy in the region, we are especially bewildered at the international community’s decision to punish the Palestinians and to withhold funds from the PA for having exercised their democratic right to elect the government of their choice. At the same time, the international community continues, through economic investments in Israel, to actively support Israel’s daily violations of international law and accelerated colonization of the occupied territories. We fear the potentially irreversible damage created by Israeli and international policy, and realize that the occupation will truly end only when its cost becomes higher that its gain for Israeli society. As Israelis, we stress that divestment and boycott actions taken by individuals or organizations against the occupation are neither Anti-Semitic nor Anti-Israel. We also recognize that boycott, divestment and sanctions constitute one of the few effective methods left to civil society in the absence of intervention by governments and official policy makers.
We salute UNISON for putting the proposal for boycott of Israel up for consideration, and strongly encourage others to take similar steps.
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