Israeli settlement produce
Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories cause harm and poverty to Palestinians, and are an obstacle to peace in the region. Israeli settlements are illegal under international humanitarian law. Yet, settlements have grown and prospered. International trade helps to bolster the settlements’ economies and contributes to their permanence. Companies based in the UK sell produce from Israeli settlements, invest in settlement businesses, and sell goods and services to settlement populations.
In 2011, Quakers in Britain committed to boycott Israeli settlement products. Quakers are calling for an end to trade with Israeli settlements. The boycott is a nonviolent action to support efforts to build peace in the region. It is not directed at all Israeli produce and businesses.
Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW) is calling on companies to withdraw investment in and end trade operations with Israeli settlement businesses. QPSW have also called on government to provide guidelines recommending that recommending that retailers clearly label all Israeli settlement produce as deriving from settlements. Such labelling would enable consumers to make informed choices about their purchases.
This work is solely directed at the illegal Israeli settlements whose existence and expansion is undermining efforts to achieve peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. Quaker Peace & Social Witness does not support a ban on or boycott of trade with Israel.
Momentum builds against settlement trade
European trade with settlements in the Jordan Valley fell by 14 per cent in the last year – largely because supermarket chains, particularly in the UK and Scandinavia, are no longer buying agricultural produce from the area. This news is the latest sign that the growing anti-settlement trade movement is picking up speed. Read more in Issue 4 of Earth & Economy.
Unilever pulls out of settlement trade
The UK-Dutch multinational Unilever has become the latest company to distance itself from the illegal Israeli settlements. After years of civil society pressure, the company announced that it had moved productionin its Beigal and Beigal subsidiary from the Barkan Industrial Zone settlement to within Israel proper. Read more in Issue 3 of Earth & Economy.
QPSW welcomes EU guidelines on settlement funding
The European Union has published new guidelines designed to prevent its institutions funding Israeli organisations based in or carrying out activities in the illegal Israeli settlements. This news is welcomed by Quaker Peace & Social Witness.
Untrue news report
We have read news reports that claim Quakers in the UK and Europe support a campaign to boycott Arab and Iranian goods. The reports are untrue and the quotes are falsely attributed to Quakers.
Trading Away Peace: How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements
QPSW has joined with 22 other non-governmental organisations across Europe to launch a report, entitled Trading Away Peace: How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements [PDF: 1.7 Mb, new window].
The report highlights inconsistencies in European Union policy towards the settlements and calls on European governments to adopt a range of economic measures designed to stop assisting settlement expansion. Recommendations include introducing a ban on the import of settlement goods, the exclusion of settlements from bilateral and EU level co-operation agreements and the introduction of measures to prevent financial transactions being made in support of the settlements.
Take action on the boycott
- For a full briefing on Israeli settlements, their products and how to take action, read Trade with Israeli settlements: a briefing for Friends [PDF - new window].
- Read the press release and minute announcing the boycott and explaining why this decision was taken.
- Read QPSW’s response to the UK government’s advice for retailers about the labelling of food products originating in the occupied Palestinian territories issued in 2009.
Further information and resources
- Momentum builds against settlement trade in Earth & Economy, early 2014
- Momentum building on Israeli settlement trade in Earth & Economy, spring 2013
- Settlement goods: threat to Israeli peace groups in Better World Economics issue 18 (autumn 2011)
- 'Settlement products: an economic barrier to peace' [PDF: new window]’ in Better World Economics Issue 13 (spring 2009)
- Major step forward as Irish government begins consideration of a settlement produce ban
- Christian Aid and Quakers in Britain call on the UK to ban the import of products from illegal Israeli settlements
The Quaker Council for European Affairs which provides a channel to bring Quaker concerns to the European institutions, has also been working on these issues in a formal programme of advocacy since 2009. Its work has also addressed the Horizon 2020 Research Framework Programme and European Union’s Missions in Rafah (Gaza Strip) and working with the Palestinian Authority on training police and developing infrastructure.