“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:

  1. Those able to prove ownership of a residential property within the zone.
  2. Those who live within the West Bank, but own agricultural land within the zone, or have a “linkage” to the land.
  3. 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.

(via arielnietzsche)

(via jayaprada)

Why Aren’t G.M.O. Foods Labeled?

Amplify’d from opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

If you want to avoid sugar, aspartame, trans-fats, MSG, or just about anything else, you read the label. If you want to avoid G.M.O.’s — genetically modified organisms — you’re out of luck. They’re not listed. You could, until now, simply buy organic foods, which by law can’t contain more than 5 percent G.M.O.’s. Now, however, even that may not work.

In the last three weeks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved three new kinds of genetically engineered (G.E.) foods: alfalfa (which becomes hay), a type of corn grown to produce ethanol), and  sugar beets. And the approval by the Food and Drug Administration of a super-fast-growing salmon — the first genetically modified animal to be sold in the U.S., but probably not the last — may not be far behind.

It’s unlikely that these products’ potential  benefits could possibly outweigh their potential for harm. But even more unbelievable is that the F.D.A.and the U.S.D.A. will not require any of these products, or foods containing them, to be labeled as genetically engineered, because they don’t want to “suggest or imply” that these foods are “different.” (Labels with half-truths about health benefits appear to be O.K., but that’s another story.)

They are arguably different, but more important, people are leery of them. Nearly an entire continent — it’s called Europe — is so wary that G.E. crops are barely grown there and there are strict bans on imports (that policy is in danger). Furthermore, most foods containing more than 0.9 percent G.M.O.’s must be labeled.

G.E. products may grow faster, require fewer pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, and reduce stress on land, water and other resources; they may be more profitable to farmers. But many of these claims are in dispute, and advances in conventional agriculture, some as simple as drip irrigation, may achieve these same goals more simply. Certainly conventional agriculture is more affordable for poor farmers, and most of the worlds’ farmers are poor. (The surge in suicides among Indian farmers has been attributed by some, at least in part, to G.E. crops, and it’s entirely possible that what’s needed to feed the world’s hungry is not new technology but a better distribution system and a reduction of waste.)

Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com
 See this Amp at http://amplify.com/u/bqhy3