“Israel has imposed a variety of non-trade barriers on Palestinian farmers. For instance, Israel bans certain types of fertilisers in the West Bank on security grounds. Israeli products – which, due to Israeli government subsidies and cheaper production costs, can be sold at lower prices – also flood the West Bank market, making Palestinian goods less competitive.
In turn, Palestinians face a series of hurdles in selling their products in Israel, including most notably having to cross Israeli checkpoints. Often, trucks meet on either side of a checkpoint, and products are exchanged manually. They allowed Palestinians to market in Europe, but they did not allow them to market in the West Bank. This represents an important non-trade barrier in front of Palestinian farmers and it is a discriminative one.” Mohammed said as Israel restricted the number of Palestinians that could enter Israel for work after the Second Intifada, many Palestinians returned to agriculture as either a primary or secondary source of income. Today, he estimated that 60-70 per cent of Palestinians in the occupied territories financially depend in some way on agriculture. “If you look to Palestinians, where they invest, they invest in buying land. It is part of the culture. It is an honour for the Palestinians to have more land. It is not only wealth; it is honour. The solidarity and the voluntary work, which is part of the Palestinian culture, most of it started and nourished in agriculture,” he said.”
Jillian Kestler-DAmours, Palestinian farmers fighting to survive via Al-Jazeera
Take Action: Free Palestinian farmers and agricultural workers targeted for imprisonment
As they organize to defend their land and Palestinian farming against the onslaught of settlements and siege, Palestinian agricultural workers and organizers have been subject to an intensified arrest campaign in the occupied West Bank of Palestine. Click here to sign our petition at change.org or sign on below to demand an immediate end to the targeting of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and all Palestinian farmers and agricultural workers, and the freedom of the Palestinian organizers imprisoned for defending their rights.
Jadaliyya explains more here:
To obtain an access permit, Palestinians are required to meet at least one of the Israeli civil administration’s qualifying criteria. As such permits are, in theory, to be granted to:
- Those able to prove ownership of a residential property within the zone.
- Those who live within the West Bank, but own agricultural land within the zone, or have a “linkage” to the land.
- Those who have businesses located within the zone.
Palestinians who fail to meet the above are not legally entitled to access seam zone land for any reason. Eligible applicants must wait for weeks for their permit applications to be processed. Even in the event of an individual meeting one or more of the above criteria, there is no guarantee of success. Applications are commonly rejected on the grounds of ‘security’ or insufficient proof of “connection to the land,” with no further information or clarification.