Ramallah, West Bank (TFC) – The Fatah movement has organized a boycott of Israeli goods in the West Bank in response to the Israeli government withholding tax revenues that should have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority last month. The Israelis withheld the money because the Palestinians are seeking war crimes charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court.
Today, activists associated with the Fatah movement dumped out a truckload of milk and yogurt that originated in Israel in a town square in Ramallah. Spectators cheered at the sight that was designed to show the Israeli government that the Palestinians were serious about enforcing the boycott. The boycott is targeting several of the largest food suppliers in Israel.
The comparison to the Boston Tea Party is apparent.
The boycott was announced weeks ago, but began to be enforced by activists who pressured shopkeepers to remove Israeli products from the shelves within the last two days. Many are advocating other boycotts in addition to the one already arranged. Some have suggested the Palestinian Authority cease cooperating with Israeli forces along the border. A cultural boycott, sparked by artists in London, went into effect last month.
The main sources of contention are the continued military operations, settlements, the blockade of Gaza, the restriction of construction supplies that are needed to repair the damage from the Israeli bombardment last summer, and the withholding of tax revenues that the Palestinian Authority requires to function. Gaza is surrounded by walls and fences that dwarf the Berlin Wall. It has been described as the largest open air prison in the world.
The Israeli government said the action was counterproductive and wouldn’t help to bring about good dialogue or open negotiations. The exports to the Palestinians generate around $700 million dollars per year for Israel. The Palestinians show no signs of ending the boycott.
Milk and yogurt may be manufactured in Israel, but it seems defiance is still manufactured in Palestine.