I would like to express my gratitude to Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, Open Shuhada Street and the MJC, for pushing forward with a plan to label products from the disputed territories in Israel/Palestine.
I am not concerned with the name that will appear on the label. I just want to know where the goods come from. After all, a territory by any other name...
As a South African who supports democracy, human rights and freedom of religion, I have long prayed for a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A peaceful co-existence is a goal the Israelis, Palestinians and international community need to push for, and assist with in achieving.
Alas, while that dream for the peaceful co-existence remains just that, a dream, the West Bank is littered with security checkpoints, security walls and lots of army patrols. This is after all still disputed territory, and some people don’t want some other people there.
Despite the security threat that Israel faces, and the measures it takes to protect its citizens, since taking over control of the ‘West Bank’, from Jordan in 1967, the disputed territories have been transformed. Where Jews were once forbidden to live or visit, freedom of religion for Jews, Moslems and Christians is now guaranteed. The West Bank, once a desolate area with many poor Arab villages, is now not only littered with security barriers to protect people, it is also littered with productive settlements, farms and factories.
While Palestinians were at best ignored, and at worst brutalised, under Jordanian rule, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank has brought unprecedented development to that area in terms of roads, infrastructure, agriculture, education and healthcare.
I have always wanted to support Israel in a manner that would strengthen that country and its citizens. More specifically, I have always wanted to support Israel, in its geographic areas that would benefit Jewish, Moslem and Christian Israelis, as well as the Arab populace.
Through the proposed introduction of labelling*, that would identify products made in the disputed/occupied territories, I will now be in a position to better identify, and purchase, products that are made by pioneers.
I will be able to clearly and easily identify and purchase products that are made by Israeli pioneers who are bringing development, democracy and freedom of religion to a region of the world that sorely lacks all three
My label proposals:
“made in Palestine”
“made in Israeli-occupied Palestine”
“made in areas from where Jews were forcibly removed in 1948”
“land liberated in 1967 and where freedom of religion is now enshrined”