Palestine Update 340
A timid UN, an arrogant corporate, and a audacious campaign against collective punishment
This headline sums up the news in this issue of Palestine Updates. Read the summaries and the entire versions from the links. Then disseminate to others who could join in Solidarity.
UN database on Israel a good first step, but still too timid and mild
“The UN finally published its database this month listing companies which profit from Israel’s brutal military occupation of the West Bank. This move was only made after years of unexplained delays. Rather helpfully, though, the Zionist Federation – an anti-Palestine, pro-Israel lobby group in Britain — admitted that, “The United States and Israel worked for over three years to stop its publication.” This confirms that such a list is likely to hurt Israel’s economy if suitable action follows its publication. The Israeli response to the list has thus been predictable. Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan reacted by smearing the UN as being guilty of “anti-Semitism”.
Despite all the Israeli bluster about the evil UN supposedly boycotting the state, the database in question is actually quite timid far too mild, I believe — and does not even call for a boycott of the companies listed. Furthermore, it appears to take a quite narrow view of what constitutes complicity with the Israeli occupation. For example, the list excludes some longstanding strategic targets of the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions – BDS – movement, including Volvo, Caterpillar, G4S and HP. Nevertheless, it does include many Israeli firms and some well-known international brands, including Airbnb, Booking.com and TripAdvisor, as well as construction equipment maker JCB, estate agent Re/Max and electronics firm Motorola.
The BDS National Committee in Palestine welcomed the UN database as “a very significant first concrete step by any UN entity towards holding to account Israeli and international corporations that enable and profit from Israel’s illegal settlements, which constitute a war crime.””
Read full report in Middle East Monitor
Access Denied: A new research by 7amleh Center about Palestinian access to E-Commerce
The Arab Center for Advancement of Social Media published “Access Denied – E-Commerce in Palestine.” The research highlights how occupation, failure to fulfill the Oslo Accords and digital discrimination from international tech companies have stunted the development of the Palestinian economy and created challenges for Palestinian buyers, sellers, and workers online.
The research also shows how technology companies that provide online financial and commercial services deprive Palestinians of their right to access economic markets. It includes a review of Palestinian access to Amazon, eBay, Ali Baba/Ali Express, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Freelancer, and UpWork.
“Access Denied – E-Commerce in Palestine ” also profiles Palestinians buyers, sellers and workers and the challenges they face when engaging with the digital economy and samples of the “workaround” solutions they have devised. The research found that Palestinian e-commerce businesses have processed between 20,000 – 40,000 deliveries in 2019, and spent on average $5,000-$10,000 per business on digital marketing. Interviews also found that, in most cases, especially when buying from local vendors, consumers in the West Bank and Gaza still continue to prefer to pay with cash.
Palestinian consumers in the West Bank and Gaza face multiple logistical hurdles when buying products from international vendors. Several e-commerce platforms and marketplaces do not ship directly to the West Bank and Gaza. Instead, buyers often use P.O. Box addresses of contacts in Israel to ensure their products are delivered. For websites that do offer to ship to Palestine, deliveries are frequently delayed given Israel’s control over incoming mail to the West Bank and Gaza. This creates delays in business operations and increases risk, putting Palestinians at a disadvantage.
Campaign demands an end to Israeli home demolitions countering collective punishment
“It is normal to lose stuff in life but losing something like a home that you have lived in your entire life that is losing all memories, all the laughs, all the tears, the ups and downs.” (Malak Hanatsheh [Walid’s daughter], 12 years old)
A group of Palestinian and international lawyers, activists and human rights defenders, are launching a campaign against Israeli’s Settler-colonial and apartheid regime systematic policy of collective punishment against family members of Palestinian freedom fighters. At the heart of this policy is punitive demolitions of family homes which leaves innocent civilians without their homes and in extreme economic distress, particularly given that they had already lost their primary breadwinners either because they were killed or imprisoned by the Israeli regime.
The group said in a statement that “In grave violation of International Law, including International Humanitarian Law (IV Geneva Convention), International Human Rights Law and International Customary Law, Israeli regime has engaged in collective punishment against Palestinians since the beginning of the military occupation in 1967. Central to this has been the Israeli regime systematic policy of home demolitions and psychological and economic warfare against the families of Palestinians accused of being engaged in resistance. This policy has intensified since 2015; particularly in the city of Jerusalem.”
“This is one of many forms of collective punishment which the Israeli regime deploys against the Palestinian people for their resistance. Other forms of collective punishment include revocation of permanent residency status of family members of political prisoners in Jerusalem, forcible transfer from their homes, refusal and revocation of close and distant relatives’ Israeli work permits, and prohibiting new construction on the site of demolished homes, as well as confiscating the properties themselves,” it added.
Read full report in Palestine News Network