Feb 27,2016 – JORDAN TIMES – MUSA KEILANI
US President Barack Obama signed this week a law that opposes boycotting Israel.
During the signing ceremony, he referred to the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, but named them as “Israeli-controlled territories”.
The Israeli government has exerted relentless efforts to stem the tide of the BDS, the global movement for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and grants Palestinians their rights.
Recently, the campaign targeted the US and addressed its messages to the American public opinion, appealing to the Americans’ sense of fairness, to boycott products exported from settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands.
Many European countries endorsed BDS starting with 2005, and accepted the stand adopted by several universities to boycott Israeli academics for their country’s defiance of international law and arrogant bahaviour towards Palestinians.
According to former member of the Israeli Knesset, Yaacov Kats, the total numbers of settlers reached 750,000, of whom 350,000 are in East Jerusalem and 406,302 in the West Bank, occupying 128 settlements and exporting the Jordan Valley agricultural produce to the US and Europe.
The settlers will prove to be the main impediment to any future solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since their intractable beliefs made them during the last 59 years the worst enemies of their Arab neighbours, people who burnt infants in Nablus or machine gunned Muslim worshippers in a Hebron mosque.
Israel hopes to make a bargain in any future two-state solution, to maintain the military and security presence of those 128 strategically located settlements in a land swap deal that includes Arab villages occupied in 1948 and adjacent to what used to be the United Nations ceasefire lines.
Some American Jewish organisations, including J-street, exerted a commendable effort, sponsoring in American cities and universities many of the anti-Netanyahu initiatives, including the BDS academia campaigns.
It is understandable that the American public opinion will not drop its stereotyping of the Palestinians, nor will it renounce its centuries old prejudices against Muslim people, but to have a sector of the American intelligentsia come to the support of the rights of an occupied nation deprived of basic human rights is a big achievement for the J-street movement in the US.
It is in this context that we realise the significance of appealing to major Jewish organisations, and to the J-street wide network of contacts, to add a helping hand to stop the sufferings of Jerusalemites at the hands of the Israeli occupation soldiers.