Palestinian activists enter a Rami Levi supermarket located in the Sha’ar Binyamin settlement to protest against the Israeli occupation and settlements and to call for BDS. Yotam Ronen/Activestills

Farming Injustice

Farmers in Gaza march on the buffer zones in Gaza to demand a boycott of Israeli agribusinesses (Photo: Joe Catron)

Palestinian farmers face the brunt of Israel’s land confiscations, demolitions and water theft. Farmers that still have access to land and water face systematically implemented restrictions and violence.

Israeli agricultural export companies such as Mehadrin and Hadiklaim are among the primary beneficiaries of the destruction of Palestinian agriculture, operating inside and exporting produce from illegal settlements using stolen Palestinian land and water and profiting from the siege on Gaza.

On February 9 2013, all of the major Palestinian agricultural organisations issued an appeal for action to end trade with illegal Israeli settlements and Israeli agricultural export companies. The organisations also published a briefing that aims to shed light on the systematic destruction of Palestinian agriculture by Israel and the complicity of Israeli agricultural companies in this destruction. The campaign was launched with a series of demonstrations in Gaza and across 40 cities in Europe.

In September 2011, following a campaign lasting over 6 years and taking place in more than 15 countries, Israel’s largest export company Agrexco entered into liquidation. The campaign against the company was one of the major factors behind its collapse. The company has now reformed, but is no longer the dominant player that it once was.

The Co-operative Group announced in 2012 that it would no longer source products from any supplier that operates in illegal settlements and cut ties to four Israeli companies following pressure from its members. There are campaigns underway to pressure other businesses to take similar steps.

Governments in Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK and South Africa have introduced special labelling for products from illegal Israeli settlements, and pressure is mounting for states to ban trade that sustains illegal settlements, which they are obliged to do under international law.