Excellent post from Richard Falk on the inexcusable failure of the media to report on the Palestinian Hunger Strike

Global Justice in the 21st Century


            Can anyone doubt that if there were more than 1300 hunger strikers in any country in the world other than Palestine, the media in the West would be obsessed with the story?  It would be featured day after day, and reported on from all angles, including the severe medical risks associated with such a lengthy refusal to take food. At this time two Palestinians who were the first to start this current wave of resistance, Thaer Halaheh and Bilal Diab, entering their 64th day without food, are reported by the prisoner protection association, Addameer, and the NGO, Physician for Human Rights-Israel, to be in critical condition with their lives hanging in the balance.  Despite this dramatic state of affairs there is scant attention in Europe, and literally none in North America. It is the case that prison protests, even large-scale ones such as occurred in…

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Media Release: Campaigners welcome Co-operative Group move to end trade links with companies that source goods from illegal settlements

Media Release: Campaigners welcome Co-operative Group move to end trade links with companies that source goods from illegal settlements.

Palestine human rights campaigners today welcomed news that the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, The Co-operative Group, will “no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements”.

The Co-op’s decision, notified to campaigners in a statement, will immediately impact four suppliers, Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin, Israel’s largest agricultural export company.  Mehadrin sources produce from illegal settlements, including Beqa’ot in the Occupied Jordan Valley.  During interviews with researchers, Palestinian workers in the settlement said they earn as little as €11 per day.  Grapes and dates packaged in the settlement were all labelled ‘Produce of Israel’.

Mehadrin’s role in providing water to settlement farms and its relationship with Israeli state water company Mekorot makes the company additionally complicit with Israel’s discriminatory water policies.  Other companies may be affected by the Co-op’s new policy if they are shown to be sourcing produce from Israel’s settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Hilary Smith, Co-op member and Boycott Israel Network (BIN) agricultural trade campaign co-ordinator, said “we welcome this important decision by the Co-op to take steps toward fully realising their policy of support for human rights and ethical trading.  The Co-op has taken the lead internationally in this historic decision to hold corporations to account for complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.  We strongly urge other retailers to follow suit and take similar action”.

The announcement by the Co-op came just before their Regional AGMs, due to take place over the next two weeks,  and where motions on this issue have been submitted for discussion.  For months Co-op members have been highlighting their concerns about trade with complicit companies through co-ordinated letter-writing and discussions with local offices.

A spokesperson from the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which works to improve the conditions of Palestinian agricultural communities, said:

“Israeli agricultural export companies like Mehadrin profit from and are directly involved in the ongoing colonisation of occupied Palestinian land and theft of our water. Trade with such companies constitutes a major form of support for Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people, so we warmly welcome this principled decision by the Co-Operative. Other European supermarkets must now take similar steps to end their complicity with Israeli violations of international law.  The movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law is proving to be a truly effective form of action in support of Palestinian rights”.

Campaigners say that this widening of the Co-op’s human rights and trade policy represents a victory for the BDS campaign, called for in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations.  Actions across Europe to highlight the issue of complicit agricultural trade companies have included co-ordinated popular boycotts, pickets of supermarkets, lobbying and blockades of company premises.

Last year Agrexco, formerly Israel’s largest agricultural goods exporter, was ordered into liquidation after posting record losses and failing to pay its creditors.  Shir Hever, Israeli economist and commentator who researches the economic aspects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, said that one factor was “the fact that Agrexco has been the target of an international boycott campaign, in protest at its role in repressing Palestinians”.

All other major supermarkets in the UK continue to trade with the companies that are now barred under the Co-op’s human rights and trade policy.



Notes to Editors

1.      Boycott Israel Network (BIN)


Contact: John Snowdon, 07704567435

2.      About The Co-operative Group


3.      Europeans call on supermarkets and governments to take Israeli apartheid off the menu, statement by Palestinian BDS National Committee

27th November 2011

4.      Company Profile – Mehadrin Group, by Take Apartheid Off the Menu


5.      Mehadrin Group – An Update, by Who Profits?

March 2012


6.      Why did Agrexco go bankrupt? by Shir Hever

JNews, 7th October 2011


7.      Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS

9th July 2005


8.      The Co-operative and the illegal Israeli settlements, 27th April 2012

Since 2009, The Co-operative Group has operated a Human Rights and Trade Policy, which establishes the exceptional circumstances under which we will withdraw all trade from a particular state, area or settlement.

One such circumstance is where there is a broad international consensus that the status of a settlement is illegal.

There are only two examples of such settlements: the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and the Moroccan settlements in Western Sahara.

On this basis, our policy has previously been not to source any produce or own-brand product from the Israeli settlements (or from Moroccan settlements). Since its adoption, this position has been underpinned by a rigorous monitoring process.

On the 25th April, The Co-operative’s Board determined that, going forward, we will additionally no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements. This decision will impact four suppliers*, and circa £350,000 of trade.

In reaching this decision the Board was mindful of the additional costs involved in the tracing and auditing of all produce supplied by these businesses.

In line with the Board’s decision, we have audited our supply chain and identified a small number of businesses that we can no longer source from, as there is evidence that they source from the settlements.

This position is not a boycott of Israeli businesses, and we continue to have supply agreements with some twenty Israeli suppliers that do not source from the settlements, a number of which may benefit from a transfer of trade.

We will also continue to actively work to increase trade links with Palestinian businesses in the Occupied Territories.

27th April 2012

*The four suppliers are Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin.

Mind The Strip, Lessons Learned

Excellent blog post by Ayman Qwaider. Watch his film!

Mind The Strip, Lessons Learned.

IN PHOTOS: Qalqiliya’s Checkpoint for Workers

Excellent photographic report from AIC

IN PHOTOS: Qalqiliya’s Checkpoint for Workers.

Blue Planet publishes a LifeSource report calling for BDS | LifeSource

Blue Planet publishes a LifeSource report calling for BDS | LifeSource.

AIC video: Bedouin demand end to disposession

AIC video: Bedouin demand end to disposession

A small but spirited group of Bedouin and Israelis demonstrated outside of the Jewish National Fund’s Jerusalem offices on Sunday. The protesters, who numbered in the dozens, called for the JNF, a quasi-governmental organization, and the state of Israel to end discriminatory policies towards Bedouin residents of the Negev, including home demolitions and relocations.


Protesters outside of the JNF/KKL offices in Jerusalem on Sunday, demonstrating against the JNF’s and the state of Israel’s racist, discriminatory policies including disposession, expropriation of land, home demolitions, and relocations

A number of residents from the Bedouin village Al Arakib, which Israel has demolished over thirty times since July of 2010, took part in the protest. Like many Bedouin villages in the Negev, the state does not recognize Al Arakib and the JNF intends to use the land for a forest.

Israel’s plans to Judaize or “develop” the Negev include the Prawer plan, which will see between 30,000 and 40,000 Bedouin relocated from their villages to impoverished townships. The Prawer plan, which the Israeli cabinet approved in September of 2011, has been slammed by human rights groups. Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel likened the Prawer plan to “a declaration of war.”

Stop the Jewish National Fund greenwashing ‘Green Sunday’ February 5, 2012

Stop the Jewish National Fund greenwashing ‘Green Sunday’ February 5, 2012

The Jewish National Fund has designated Sunday 5th February as ‘Green Sunday’, when it encourages people to donate money to ‘plant trees in Israel’.  The JNF claims to have environmental objectives.  Don’t be taken in.  The JNF’s tree planting is a cover for ethnic cleansing.

The JNF exists to acquire land in Israel/Palestine for the sole use of Jewish people.  For more than 100 years, the JNF has been complicit in expulsions of Palestinians from their homes, the destruction of their villages and prevention of the return of refugees – by planting trees over the remnants of the destroyed homes.

Environmentalists are asked to use the opportunity of the JNF’s ‘Green Sunday’ to take a stand against this greenwash, when ethnic cleansing masquerades as environmental action.  Don’t support the JNF’s ‘Green Sunday’, but publicly denounce the JNF.

Environmental groups throughout the world are adding their support to the international call from Palestinian civil society to Stop the JNF.

Don’t support the JNF’s ‘Green Sunday’. Instead, use the opportunity to:

Endorse the call against the JNF

Read the Open Letter to Environmentalists by Eurig Scandrett

Read the testimony from Friends of the Earth Palestine

Protest the JNF’s presence at environmental events such as Rio+20 this year

Help the ecological rehabilitation of Palestine by planting a tree in Palestine

Find out more about the JNF’s greenwash from the e-book Greenwashing Apartheid: The Jewish National Fund’s Environmental Cover Up

Take action – get involved in Stop the JNF through www.stopthejnf.org and by emailing info@stopthejnf.org

Ask your MP to sign the Early Day Motion (EDM 1677) on the JNF: www.coordin8.org.uk

If you are involved in environmental justice, contact us at environment@stopthejnf.org

via Stop the JNF