Press Release: Land Day – BDS

Thirty years later, on Land Day 2006, 68 percent of Israel’s Jewish population have stated in a public opinion poll that they “do not want to live next to an Arab”, and a vast majority is voting for political programs that ignore the rights and needs of the Palestinians and perpetuate an apartheid system in Israel itself, convincing the prominent Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy, to describe Israel on the eve of the elections as “a nation in which racism is the real common denominator uniting us all.” Military occupation and colonization continue unabated in the West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem. The Wall under construction in the occupied West Bank continues to dispossess and displace people and serves to de facto annex Palestinian land to Israel, while walls are constructed inside Israel to separate poor Palestinian communities from their wealthy Jewish neighbors. Military closure has led the Gaza Strip to the brink of starvation, and exiled Palestinian refugees are denied their right to return to their homes and properties by means of discriminatory laws. All this, while the victory of Hamas in the recent Palestinian parliamentary elections is used as the latest Israeli pretext for collective punishment of the Palestinian people and the denial of their right to self-determination, both of which have been in force long before Hamas’ legislative victory.

Before 1948, Palestinians owned or controlled more than 90 per cent of the land in former Palestine. Today they own or control no more than 10 per cent of the land and more than half of the original Palestinian population has been displaced/expelled from the country.

“This is no time for appeasement”, said the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territory already more than one year ago, “Israel’s defiance of international law poses a threat not only to the international legal order but to the international order itself.”

In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law, and

Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies, and

Given that the international community has so far failed to convince or force Israel to comply with its obligations under international law,

We, Palestinian civil society organizations, re-iterate on this Land Day our call for a broad campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We encourage civil society organizations worldwide to follow the example of the Palestine Solidarity Movement in North America and to make the 2006 Land Day a day of Divestment and Boycotts.

This Campaign should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Ending its system of racial discrimination and recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full individual and collective equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Palestine Land Day
30 March 2006