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How the Palestinian Boycotts Can Work

Former Israeli Ambassador, and peace activist, Ilan Baruch asks the Palestinian leadership to exercise caution. A boycott that attempts to undermine Israel in a sweeping manner also undermines any chances for stabilizing a significant peace camp in its midst. 
A Palestinian worker sticks Intajuna ("Our Products") stickers on Palestinian goods displayed in a supermarket in the West Bank city of Ramallah August 2, 2009. Intajuna is one of many campaigns asking Palestinians to avoid Israeli products. After 40 years of occupation, the Palestinian economy is tied to Israel's, so attempts to reduce its dependence clash with hard realities. Picture taken August 2, 2009. To match feature PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/BOYCOTT REUTERS/Fadi Arouri (WEST BANK POLITICS BUSINESS)

About a year ago I left the foreign ministry after 36 years of diplomatic work. I left for political reasons: I felt that I could no longer faithfully represent a government striving to achieve political ends that I viewed as unrealistic and immoral, a government intent on abandoning the goal of ending the occupation by coming to an arrangement based on “two states for two nations.”

The day after my resignation I joined those demonstrating solidarity with the residents of the Arab Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood who were forcefully removed from their homes to vacate them for Jewish settlers. This solidarity movement expressed the joint protest of Palestinians and Israelis and intensified pressure on the State of Israel in the local court houses as well as in the international arena. This was a non-violent, joint protest based on solidarity that crossed national lines — solidarity that should be encouraged to achieve joint objectives. Another example is the regular weekly demonstrations near the separation barrier in Bili’in that were transformed into a powerful joint narrative. The decision of the High Court of Justice to instruct the IDF to change the delineation of the fence to the benefit of the village residents and the implementation of the decision represent an important moral victory for the Palestinian side of the conflict.

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