RAMALLAH — The Palestinian National Initiative party has recently launched a new campaign, aiming to boycott Israeli products in West Bank supermarkets. On Monday afternoon, a small crowd gathered gathered outside the Bravo supermarket in the affluent district of Atira in Ramallah. They wore orange t-shirts printed with images and text which condemned the Israeli juice, Tapuzina.
With Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of The Palestinian National Initiative leading the march, the demonstrators went into the supermarket to do a review of Tapuzina — and other Israeli products — which, apart from being more expensive than other non-Israeli products, finance the Israeli army.
“We are tagging all Israeli products so people can identify them, but our campaign is strategic: we are putting special emphasis on one of the most famous and most distributed Israeli products: Tapuzina,” Barghotuhi clarified. “There are alternatives to this product which are much healthier, tastier and cheaper,” he added.
Barghouthi also said that some business owners have been very supportive. “Shopkeepers are being great. We are convincing them to take away Israeli products and put Palestinian goods [in their place].”
It’s estimated that each year Israel earns 3.5 billion USD from products sold in the occupied Palestinian territories, making Palestine the second largest market for Israeli exports. The tragic irony, Barghouthi said is that these earnings are then “used to expand the settlements, to destroy peace, to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
By reducing the consumption of Israeli products by 10 percent, 100,000 job opportunities for Palestinian graduates could potentially be created. “We believe that the only way to end with the occupation is to change the balance of power by making the occupation costly,” Barghouthi emphasized.
Tapuzina is the first of many Israeli products to be boycotted. “What Gandhi did in India by not using products of the English colonists is what we’re doing here in Palestine,” Barghouti said. “[This is] a nonviolent and peaceful movement that can bring peace and facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state.”