Israel tightens economic stranglehold on 1948 Palestinians

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Salim, a 82-year old Palestinian farmer from the Qudiah family, works in his fields in the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis near the border fence between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip, on December 6, 2014. The Hamas-run Gaza Strip, for which export of farm produce is a key source of income, has been choked by an eight-year blockade which Israel imposed after Hamas kidnapped one of its soldiers in a cross-border raid. AFP/Said Khatib

By: Zouheir Andraos

Published Monday, December 8, 2014

As Israel increases its economic stranglehold on 1948 Palestinians, its racist policies extended to banning them from raising chickens and growing potatoes. This was after the closure of clothes workshops, which were transferred to Jordan, and other similar actions.

Occupied Haifa – As the economic persecution against Palestinians continues, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry recently decided to prevent 1948 Palestinians from raising chickens and thus producing eggs, claiming this department as an exclusive right for Jews in cooperative villages (moshav). Eggs produced by Palestinian establishments disappeared from the market in a matter of days and were replaced by Israeli eggs produced at moshavs (Israeli agricultural settlements) built on the ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed in the Nakba, or the Catastrophe.

Authorities in Tel Aviv also issued a decree banning “Arabs” from growing potatoes, succumbing to the pressure of Israeli potato farmers. The authorities had discovered that growing potatoes is cheap and was an important source of income for Palestinians. These two steps are further proof of the extent of the occupation's institutional racism.

Palestine is famous for having fertile land, rich in all sorts of plants used by Palestinians as food (such as thyme and mallow), but which are not known or eaten by Jews. This led the Israeli government to instruct its so-called environmental protection authority to prosecute "plant thieves." It officially announced those plants as "protected species and those who pick them shall be sent to court."

Environmental protection authorities started fining Palestinians who pick "protected plants." In the meantime, Jewish traders, who just discovered the importance of such plants for Palestinians, began requesting necessary licenses from the Israeli Agriculture Ministry to grow them and sell them in Arab markets. Palestinians in the interior became a target of a lucrative and popular "Israeli" trade.

In the same context, occupation authorities found another channel to increase the economic stranglehold on Palestinians, with Dubek cigarettes company (the only Israeli cigarette company) announcing it would stop buying tobacco from Arab farmers. Tobacco is one of the main cash crops for Palestinians, especially in the Galilee, inside what is known as the green line. Thus, Israel would have destroyed one of the most important Arab crops in Palestine, and began importing tobacco from its Turkish ally.

Persisting in its economic war and in collaboration with Jordan, Israel recently shut down the small sewing and knitting factories in Galilee, the Triangle, and Negev, the main source of income for many Palestinian families. The occupation authorities plan to relocate them to Jordan, under the pretext of cheap labor. However, the move was rumored to be an attempt to prop up the fragile Jordanian economy, in addition to the occupation's determination to cut off sources of income for 1948 Palestinians.

The economic stranglehold policies adopted by Israel resulted in the unemployment of one third of the workforce in Negev and Umm al-Fahm. It widened the gap between Palestinian and Israeli unemployment, with a 25 percent unemployment rate for Palestinians and 6.5 percent for Israelis. The same statistics indicated that half of Palestinian children in the 1948 territories currently live below the poverty line.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

Is it true that Israeli potato farmers do not grow many potatoes
Potatoes for consumption in Israel are imported from ....
That the soil is contaminated
So who exports potatoes to Israel
Who's potato growing markets is the Israeli government protecting ?
France ?

All McDonalds french fries that are consumed in Israel are grown there. That is the corporate policy.

God's chosen people can harm anyone anywhere anytime with impunity. In Gaza, illegal settlements, Syria, Lebanon etc etc ... it's truly appalling!

I know you are looking for every excuse to throw stones at Israel, but there are very good reasons for these changes, that have nothing to do with Muslim or Arab Palestinians. There are so many of you hating, writing articles to incite and make for more wars that it clearly shows you Education systems Need to change if the world is ever to function Together as Normal. As was Meant to be.

Yes, Jews are the number one cause of suffering in the world. What is happening today is Congo pales in comparison. Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen - nothing compared to the Jews and their wanting to live. No wonder you hate them all.

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