Encouraging Palestinian suffering – a boycott

In September 2000, Yasser Arafat launched the Intifada. An  immediate result of the security concerns was that Israel ceased to employ 125,000 Palestinians from the territories. 125,000 employees  – well paid compared to similar positions in Gaza and in Hebron – lost their wage packet almost instantly.

9 years later, supporters of human rights are asking British customers not to buy Israeli agricultural products. They intend that such a boycott will bolster the livelihood of Palestinians.

Just as the Intifada saw a sharp drop in Palestinian GDP, which is only just showing signs of a full recovery, so too will a boycott of Israel have an equally devastating effect. How so?

Simple – every day, tens of thousands of Palestinians work on Israeli farms. As increasingly supported by Israeli civil law, their conditions are improving annually. Just as with a decade ago, these are comparatively high salaries. Unemployment in the Palestinian territories is still over 20%. They are unlikely to find alternative jobs.

To take the argument one step further, most of Israel’s agricultural exports herald from peripheral areas, where wages are already comparatively low. So a boycott is going to effect Palestinians, along with Bedouin, Jew, Arab and Christian, all re-entering together the poverty trap.

For some, no work is often leads to the path of extremism, a horrible and useless experience for all sides.

With some irony, it is the British themselves who will also suffer from any such boycott. Aside from being deprived of excellent produce, they will create unemployment for their own folk.

Israel is Britain’s largest trading partner in the Middle East – excluding Saudi Arabia with its sales of oil and purchases of armaments. Imagine how many homeland-based British livelihoods a boycott would threaten! Billions of pounds of trade dumped into the sea, only to be trawled away by hungry competitors.

The hypocrisy of the boycott argument is further exposed by its own advocates. They do not call for an imports on Saudi oil not a ban on the use of cheap toys from China, despite the oppressive regimes. And they disseminate their information by e-mail, when their computers are run on Intel tech created in Israel.

Even the spin lacks credibility. For example, such people claim that Israel syphons off water from Palestinian towns, when the opposite is true.

When a political call for action is based in disinformation and will only wound those it is supposedly trying to help, then others must consider the true motivation of hate behind such a movement.

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