Occupied Palestine, 26 May 2010 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) warmly welcomes the decision taken by two of Italy’s largest supermarket chains to suspend sales of products from Israel’s colonial settlements, illegally built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Nordiconad announced that they will no longer stock produce from Agrexco, the principle exporter from Israel and the illegal settlements in the OPT. COOP Italia has also stopped selling settlement produce.
Worth €12 billion to the Israeli economy, the European Union is Israel’s second largest export market after the United States, and an estimated one-third of these exports are fully or partially manufactured in occupied West Bank territory.1 The sale of settlement produce in European supermarkets provides economic rewards for the illegal and brutal occupation of Palestinian territories and enhances Israel’s sense of impunity; the decisions taken by COOP and Nordiconad are, therefore, principled, morally commendable, as well as legally consequential. The BNC urges COOP and Nordiconad to ensure that these decisions are implemented throughout their operations.
This victory comes after a Court of Justice of the European Union ruling in February that Israeli products originating from illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank do not qualify for preferential customs treatment under the EC-Israel trade agreement or the trade agreement in place between the European Union and the Palestinian Authority.2 In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that the settlements established in the OPT are in violation of international law and that all states are obliged to ensure “compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law”.3 The BNC wishes to remind European supermarkets of these rulings and urges states to implement their findings.
The BNC salutes the persistent and committed efforts of the Italian Coalition Against Carmel-Agrexco and believes that this victory is significant for the rapidly growing global BDS movement. The wide scope of the Italian coalition – and this important victory – is an inspiration to the movement.
The Italian Coalition Against Carmel-Agrexco operates in response to the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society, including all major trade unions, political parties and organisations, to implement a campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.
– The BNC Secretariat