1. Part : BDS
BDS has fought for years worldwide for an economic, cultural and academic boycott, the withdrawal of investments and sanctions against Israel. States, businesses, academics, artists, NGOs and many others have joined this campaign.
BDS is also supported by church representatives from Judea and Samaria and also from Israel. In the Kairos paper, the Ecclesiastic Manifesto, Palestinian terror is declared a resistance. In many forums and commentary columns of well-known newspapers, this absolutely false definition serves as an argument for homicide. In this manifesto all the blame for the conflict is attributed to the Israelis. Christian communities from all over the world have joined the movement without questioning.
In Paris, a group of highly motivated followers of the boycotts gather. As always, most of the activists are female, elderly women or female students, only a few are Muslims. The statement on their shirts is this time „Free Palestine“. „You do not always have to agree with Israel, its politics or PM Benjamin Netanyahu. But if in France pro-Palestinian groups with cameras go into a supermarket and destroy Israeli products before all those present and tell the clientele that they are not to buy Israeli products, what happens? Then an indecisive person, who has something against Jews, no matter what reason, he just does not like them, one evening watches the clip on YouTube. And then he waits before the synagogue for young people and attacks them. Because he saw it on the Internet and thinks „I could also attack a Jew“ That is bad!”
2. Part: Ariel, Samaria
Here is the plant of Lipski Plastic, a plant where everything is produced that seems useful for the modern, plastic-oriented household. Until the final decision, how Judea and Samaria will one day be „divided“, the Israeli government has given Palestinian workers the same rights and duties as the Israelis. Rashid Mrar, a long-time employee of the plant, stresses that the entrepreneur actually does not care where he produces his goods, whether at the current headquarters of the plant or within the „Green Line“. If he has to move because he can not sell anything from here because of the boycott, he will move. The Palestinian workers will lose. „In thirty years of working with Israelis, I have never experienced anything bad. Every day people come here and ask for work. If I worked with Palestinians, I would not even get 2.000 shekels, I get 9.000 here, that’s a big difference.“ Yehuda Cohen, the owner, adds: „90 people work with me, 50 of them are Palestinians. There are Palestinians and Israelis among the leaders and the workers. It all depends on the person. In 2014 my son was in Gaza and my workers knew that. It was a difficult situation. On the one hand they see how we care for them, see that we get enough orders, and on the other hand I am at war with their brothers. But they also know that in my village many rockets fell, four houses were hit. (…) They all know how complicated the situation is, but here in the company we feel no tensions. (….) We are here an island of normality, that should be clear to us. We should consider how we can transfer this normality to other areas.“
30.000 Palestinians work here in almost 900 Israeli companies. BDS wants it to end. Soda stream gave in, 750 Palestinian workers lost their job.
3. Part: Gaza
There are many distorting and false associations on Gaza: concentration camps, open air jail, child murder, water deficiency.
The entry into Gaza does not pose any problems for journalists. The first part, a building similar to a check-in hall in the airport, where the Israeli controls take place, is skipped. It is also boring. A person whose papers are OK, and anyone else who is inconspicuous, can go through within 10 minutes at the most and can go on the pedestrian path to Gaza. The Fatah control is easy as well. More problematic is the last control, by the Hamas. There one is scrutinized very carefully look and whoever is not welcome, can turn back immediately.
Some facts about Gaza
Life expectancy 74 years, higher than in Egypt, Ukraine and 125 other states.
Child mortality is at the level of Turkey and lower than in 97 other states.
On 360 sq. km live 1.800.000 people, that is 5.000 inhabitants per sq. km, in Paris there are 21,000.
Hamas does not want peace with Israel, Hamas wants the whole country and, if possible, clean of Jews. Ziad al-Zaza, a high-ranking Hamas member, smiles at the camera: „Jerusalem must become capital of the Palestinian state.“ All of Jerusalem?? „Yes, all of Jerusalem.“ Any questions? How extraordinarily charming they can smile, these well-groomed gentlemen from Hamastan with the finely cut five-day beard. They undoubtedly know what they want!
On the beach of Gaza City, they line up as a pearl chain, the villas of the rich and the beautiful. Where do they get the money to afford this luxury? World Vision is suspected of redirecting € 45,000,000 from the relief funds to Hamas.
Of the 10.000.000 Palestinians worldwide, about 7.000.000 are considered refugees. Since 1948 the population has increased tenfold! That is unique. More than half the population of Gaza is under 25.
In Gaza, too, are academically educated young people who are willing to talk. There are four universities. One student can hardly help laughing. „Yes, the financial grant arrives. It comes from Europe, sometimes from Qatar, sometimes from the USA. I saw it on TV. But I have never seen anything of it, by Allah. Everyone stuffs their pockets and the people sleep.“ Another looked at the dilemma from another angle. „I know that a lot of Palestinians would contradict me here, but I think two states are appropriate for both sides. Part of the money lands in the pockets of other people. And you do not know where it really is going to. (…) I can only say that there is corruption here.”
Do female students have different opinions? „I think before we look at people abroad, we have to find fault with ourselves. We urgently need a fundamental renewal. (…) It is a big problem to only talk about Hamas, or about Jihad, or all the others here in Gaza.“ „I admit that the government is responsible for what is happening here. When they took the country, everything was blocked. Nothing has opened for us.“
This is obviously what Fatah, Hamas and the international community have wanted. The status of refugees is passed on only to Palestinians. The number of Palestinian refugees has been increasing worldwide for 70 years. They are not integrated because they are the pledge promising Western financial aid and the political claim to additional territories.
It is astonishing that the Gazans are relatively open in the street, or is this allowed as Hamas propaganda? To admit a bit and then immediately slip into the double victim role? „The Western financial aid arrives and is well kept here. But it does not arrive with the needy. It is clear that there are some transgressions. Only about 90% is implemented.“ „The solution is that a state is founded, that the border crossings are opened, that we finally see the world. We live very poorly, we vegetate. How can this happen? The great leaders play with us, they play against each other, that is the situation.“
Without being filmed by the camera, a man said: „The West needs to stop all financial aid to Gaza. Then the Hamas regime will collapse. Even if it would take years.”
© esther scheiner, israel
© translated by: Translation International, Herzlyia