According to the report, Palestinian political party Al-Mubadra Al-Watniya, or the Palestinian National Initiative, has launched a campaign throughout Ramallah urging consumers to boycott Israeli products, as part of the larger international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. Signs throughout Ramallah call on Palestinians to “boycott Israeli goods” and to refuse to “pay for the bullets that kill our children.”
But it appears locals are having difficulty accomplishing just that because of certain specialty goods that come from Israel. “Our gluten-free bread and lactose-free milk come from Israel,” one Palestinian businessman said, according to the report.
According to the report, most small grocers in Ramallah continue to sell Israeli goods, despite the active boycott movement.
Pharmacist Samer Toubassi told Albawaba, “We’re with the boycott, but for many products we have no alternatives,” adding that 40 to 50 percent of his medications come from Israel.
Perhaps the issue of Israeli drugs is particularly sensitive to Palestinians, as the host of a religious program on Palestinian Authority TV recently told audiences that Israel seeks to control its Arab neighbors through the dissemination of prescription drugs.
“Palestinians do not have the technology to produce medicine that is used to treat cancer, problems with the immune system, or diabetes, for instance,” said Toubassi.
One Palestinian told the Jordanian paper that he would not boycott “the settlements” — Jewish communities built on lands conquered by Israel in the defensive 1967 Six-Day War — because the settlements provide many Palestinians with work.
“I don’t believe in boycotting. If we boycott settlement products, what about the Palestinians who work in the settlements?” said Ramallah resident Mahmoud Jbbarin.
Criticizing the Palestinian government in Ramallah, he said, “If they can work somewhere else instead, then I’m fine with the idea. But at the moment the Palestinian Authority does not provide enough jobs for the Palestinians.”
“Although many Palestinians seem to willing to sacrifice their economic benefits for the national struggle, a complete boycott would imply impossible choices, like refraining from buying medicine for cancer – or even just a bag of carrots,” the Albawaba report concluded.