Christian Aid believes that Israeli settlements will continue to expand unless action is taken to stop them from being profitable.
For too long now the international community has condemned settlements as illegal, without taking concrete action to prevent them growing (both economically and in numbers).
Against this, the UK government describes them as ‘the greatest obstacle to peace’ between Israel and the Palestinians.
Over the years the number of settlers has risen to nearly half a million and many settlements have become their own economic centres, producing goods that have worked their way into markets around the world.
They have also contributed greatly to Palestinian poverty, taking away large swathes of land and resources that could be used for economic development.
Christian Aid is calling on the UK government to ban settlement produce by putting in place effective legislation to stop products reaching our markets.
We believe it is the responsibility of governments to protect the consumer from purchasing goods from an illegal source, and therefore a ban is the most effective way to prevent this.
A ban on trade with settlements is not a ban on trade with Israel, nor is it a call to boycott.
Take action - write to your MP!
It is a scandal that while Palestinian farmers are struggling to survive on land that has been in their families for generations, there are products sold in our markets that come from the very settlements that impoverish them.
Download our MP letter If like us you believe that this is a huge injustice, and a great obstacle to peace in the region, then write to your MP and ask them to support a ban on settlement produce in the UK.
Several governments, including the Republic of Ireland, have already committed to doing this.
`Water is one of the problems – without this we can’t farm, but the settlements take it all’
Mohammed Masa’id, like other farmers, has had his land confiscated for ‘military purposes’.
Life in the Jordan Valley is a hard slog at the best of times, but when you’re flanked by settlements it’s almost impossible.
Mohammed Masa’id is a Palestinian farmer whose family history is rooted in this fertile stretch of land that follows the course of the river between the West Bank and Jordan.
Despite being deep in Palestinian territory, Israel has established large settlement farms along the Jordan Valley which have all the modern technology and farming methods that are available today.
The effect of this has been catastrophic for farmers like Mohammed. Many have had their land confiscated for ‘military purposes’, and have received no compensation for this loss.
Those that still have land are frequently stopped from accessing it by Israeli soldiers, or settlers.
Even if they can reach their land, farmers say it is almost impossible to make a living because of the restrictions on their movements, and the tight controls Israel imposes on imports and exports that prevent them from selling their produce abroad.
`We make just enough money to live on’ says Mohammed. `I don’t want either of my sons to be farmers. I don’t want this life for them.’
Coalition releases new report on EU trade with Israeli settlements
The European Union’s position is absolutely clear: Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are 'illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible'.
Yet this report, by a coalition of organisations of which Christian Aid is a part, shows how European policy in practice simultaneously helps sustain the settlements.
It reveals that the EU imports approximately 15 times more from the illegal settlements than from the Palestinians themselves, and calls on European governments to close the gap between the rhetoric on settlements and their practices towards them.
Read the report in full (PDF)
If you’d like to know more about Christian Aid’s work in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, then the following resources can help you:
• Breaking down the barriers (PDF) – this booklet is designed to help you get your church more involved, with case studies of Christian Aid’s partners work, actions, prayers and a bible study.
• Parliamentary briefing (PDF) – for more on our call for a ban on settlement produce, please see this paper.
• Middle East reports – For indepth analysis and policy positions, please see this page.
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