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Israel

Ask Palestinians Why A Boycott Of Israel Is Bound To Fail

It's home economics, not geopolitics.

Gaza City's al-Saha market
Gaza City's al-Saha market
Dani Rubinstein

TEL AVIV— Just a few days before the decision by the European Parliament to label products coming from Israeli settlements a survey was released to gauge Palestinian opinion about boycotts as a way to punish Israel's policy.

The Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC), a Palestinian research institute, surveyed 1200 people from East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza about the boycott issue. Some 50% said they supported a full boycott on all made-in-Israel products, yet only 10% said they wanted a boycott of products only from Jewish settlements. In other words, Palestinians don't care if the products come from the West Bank or from Tel Aviv.

In a similar survey published six months ago, 60% of the people said they supported a full boycott on Israeli products, which means Palestinian support overall for the international sanctions is declining. Only one-third of the respondents said they themselves refuse to buy any Israeli products (often there are no Palestinian substitutes for certain Israeli-made product), and 12% did not support any boycott at all.

The idea of a boycott on Israeli products has been consuming Palestinians for the past decade, since the movement first began abroad. Palestinian officials who visited Europe in the past were asked how could the Europeans be expected to help against the settlements if Palestinians themselves were buying their products.

Basic economics

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad initiated a law at that time that prohibited buying any settler-made products, which included a public list of all the Israeli factories in the West Bank, as well as fines and prison sentences of 2-5 years to those who sell, deal or store settlements products. Moreover, Palestinians who worked in Israeli factories were required to quit their job and find a different one in Palestinian factories.

Even with the measures taken back then by the Palestinian government, the boycott on products coming from Israeli settlements failed for simple economic reasons. Today 40,000 Palestinians work in Israeli settlements and factories in the West Bank. The salary of a Palestinian working in Israeli factories is three times higher than the average West Bank salary.

Though half the Palestinians may still support the boycott on Israeli products, the boycott has no real chance to succeed since the Palestinian economy is so utterly dependent on Israel.

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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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