This Ramadhan , DON’T break your fast with Israeli Dates.
Ramadan is a time of year when we remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves. When we break our fasts with dates, it would be an affront to us all if these dates were the produce of Illegal Israeli settlements built on land stolen from Palestinians.
Israeli produced Medjoul dates are grown in the Jordan Valley within Illegal Israeli settlements. They form a large part of the agriculture from these settlements and they are exported all over the world. Purchasing these dates means that you are actually helping Israeli settlements to continue to exist.
Israelis will claim that Palestinians are allowed to work on the land of these settlements and therefore they are provided with jobs and a boycott will harm them. In actual fact, these Palestinians are employed for paltry wages, and they are required to do the back-breaking work that the Israeli settlers will not do themselves. This means the Israeli settlers reap the rewards for the harvests while doing very little of the work themselves.
Palestinian children are employed by these settlers, and they are forced to work long hours under a hot baking sun for small sums of money. This exploitation means that these children miss out on an education.
Most of these dates are exported to Europe.
They are labelled as produce of
– DO NOT BUY THEM.
This Ramadhan, Friends of Al-Aqsa has launched the Boycott Israeli Dates campaign. While Muslims in Europe prepare for Ramadan, Israel prepares to flood the European markets with dates from Israel which enrich its economy with millions of pounds each year. Many Muslims are unaware of this and unwittingly purchase Israeli dates, thereby supporting the Israeli economy and its occupation of the Palestinian people.
Why should you boycott Israeli dates?
There are many reasons for boycotting Israel and Israeli products. Financially, supporting the state of Israel is tantamount to supporting its oppression and occupation of the Palestinians. Palestinians are subjected to violence and humiliation every day and their lives are made unbearable by Israel’s occupation policies.
In Gaza, most recently, Israel reduced the population of 1.5 million to desperate poverty by imposing a two year long siege and a 3 week long bombing campaign which left 1,400 Palestinians dead. While Israel enjoys living standards equivalent to that in Europe, the Palestinians in Gaza live without basic supplies of fuel, electricity, medicines, food and even milk powder for babies.
Despite the absolute humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza, with diseases spreading, malnutrition the norm, and medical patients dying in their hundreds from treatable diseases; Israel continues to dismiss international concerns and condemnation, calling Palestinians the terrorists.
In the West Bank, oppressive occupation policies continue to be the norm, and peaceful protests continue to be met with deadly force, leaving unarmed protestors dead or injured. International solidarity workers are also still being harassed and targeted, and extremist settlers, such as those in Hebron, continue to make the lives of the local people a living misery. School children on their way to school face the terror of settler attacks, who hurl both abuse and rocks at them. These incidences are not isolated; they are the reality of every day life for some Palestinians.
Political intervention has failed to bring about an end to the occupation for over 40 years. It is time for ordinary people in the ground to take a stand, and boycotting Israeli goods is an easy but effective option.
By boycotting Israeli products – you are telling the Israelis that you want the occupation to end; you are telling the world government’s that they must take action; and most importantly, you are telling the Palestinians that they are not forgotten.
Do something today – Boycott Israeli Dates
Facts about Israeli Date FarmsChild Labour
Israeli date farms in the West Bank settlements in the Jordan Valley employ child labour. Palestinian families living in refugee camps in the area face desperate poverty and rely almost solely on aid for their daily sustenance. This poverty is the direct result of Israeli occupation policies.
Israeli settlers take advantage of the situation by offering employment to these Palestinians, including children, paying them paltry wages for back breaking work on the date farms, which the settlers would never do themselves.
These children then miss out on an education.
Israelis often say that by boycotting Israeli goods, we are harming their Palestinian labourers. The fact is that the Palestinians only work on these farms out of sheer desperation. Before the occupation began, these very farms were owned by Palestinians who were able to make a living in a dignified and profitable way. Now, the only ones making a profit are illegal Israeli settlers while Palestinians do all the hard work.
If the occupation was brought to an end, Palestinians would once again work their own farms and be able to export their own goods, which is currently completely choked by Israel’s deliberate policies intended to enrich Israelis and impoverish Palestinians, who they can then exploit as cheap labour.
The International Labour Movement reported in 2008 that work hazards in Israeli settlements and industrial zones are rife, and Palestinian workers are offered little protection against obvious dangers. They also received evidence that child labourers were being used in dangerous quarries in Israeli settlements as well as within date plantations. Israeli children would never be exposed to such risks, reflecting the Israeli settlers’ views of Palestinians and their children as being merely an expendable workforce.
Essentially, these dates are not the produce of Israel at all. Israeli settlements that produce dates are illegal under international law. They are built on land confiscated from Palestinians leaving families dispossessed of their homes and land, often without compensation. The settlement produce is also irrigated by water stolen from the Palestinians and diverted to settlements.
By marketing these dates falsely as Israeli produce, the settlement farmers get special tax deductions when importing them into the UK.
Most of the Israeli date growers live in kibbutz’s and cooperative villages and belong to cooperative settling movements.
92% of the Israeli date plantations are owned and cultivated by these collectives or co-operatives. The usual size of a plantation in those settlements is between 20 and 30 hectares. 14% of these plantations are larger, between 30-50 hectares.
One hectare is 10,000 square metres.
Hadiklaim – Israel Date Growers’ Cooperative
Hadiklaim is the main Israel Date Growers Co-operative which exports dates from Israel and from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, especially from settlements in the Jordan Valley.
Hadiklaim was established to market the produce of date farmers in Tzemah, Beit Shean and the Southern Arava, and it sells 65 percent of the dates produced in Israel. About four-fifths of this produce is sold abroad, mostly in Europe.
Hadiklaim markets dates under the brand names of Jordan River, Jordan River Bio-Top and King Solomon, and under private labels of supermarket chains. Hadiklaim’s marketing is handled by Almog Tradex.
In total, Israel consumes 1.8 billion cubic meters of water a year and Palestinians in the West Bank get only 120 million cubic meters per year, which means that each Israeli consumes four times as much water as a Palestinian.
Palestinians only consume 17 per cent of the water from West Bank sources, and Israel takes the remaining 63 per cent for the use of its illegal settlers and the produce that they are farming.
Palestinians are restricted on how much water they are allowed to consume – 83 cubic meters per Palestinian per year; while Israelis consume 333 cubic meters per Israeli per year.
Making Money from the Occupation
- Dates were Israel’s leading fruit export in 2005.
- Dates account for about 15% of export from Israel into the EU.
- It is estimated that Israel produces over 10,000 tonnes of dates per year.
- The approximate price per kilo of dates is £8.
- The total income for Israel from dates in a year is approximately £80 million.
JOIN US! Boycott Israeli Dates and help end the oppression
How to identify Israeli Produce
Most of the major supermarkets sell produce of Israel / Westbank – AVOID. Click the thumbnail to see larger images of dates to avoid.
Alternatives to Israeli Dates
Alternative Dates (Medjoul) that help the Palestinians are available from Zaytoun.org – A Fairtrade Importer . Zaytoun are able to supply organic and Fairtrade dates in wholesale quantities – visit their site to see their complete range of Palestinian produce. Inform your local dates retailer to the availability of this ethical produce.