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Palestinian BDS activists urge action in response to Israel's demolitions of Palestinian homes

July 26, 2019 at 10:46 am

Israeli soldiers leave Palestinians homeless as they demolish a 2 storey building in Sur Baher, East Jerusalem on 22 July 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement have called on campaigners around the world to step up their efforts in response to Israel’s mass demolition of Palestinian homes in Sur Baher.

In a statement published on the BDS Movement website, activists slammed Israel for committing “its biggest crime of ethnic cleansing since 1967” in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Wadi Hummus.

“If Israel’s aggressive home demolitions are not stopped now, other Palestinian communities will be next,” the BDS Movement continued.

In Jerusalem alone, at least one third of all Palestinian homes are at risk of demolition. This would mean the forcible displacement of some 100,000 Palestinians.

According to the campaign, “home demolitions are part and parcel of Israel’s regime of occupation, colonisation and apartheid over the Palestine people.”

“Our most effective response to this regime and the institutions and corporations that enable its crimes is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS),” the activists stressed.

“Boycotts and sanctions played a decisive role in ending apartheid in South Africa, and they are playing an increasingly impactful role in ending Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid.”

The BDS Movement highlighted the need “to step up our grassroots efforts for accountability and to ensure respect for Palestinian rights.”

READ: Why is the rise of BDS worldwide worrying Israel?

Examples of how to “escalate” campaigning include “building awareness and campaigns for cutting all military and security ties with Israel, including ending joint military/security research with Israel,” as well as “joining the calls for HSBC to divest from Caterpillar, whose machinery has been used to destroy homes in Wadi Hummus.”

Other campaigns include pressuring “HP corporations to end their complicity in Israeli human rights violations, including the provision of servers to Israel’s National Population Registry”, a database which “administers the citizenship policies that deprive Israel’s Palestinian citizens and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem of their basic human and civil rights”.

The BDS Movement also urged a strengthening of campaigns “calling on churches, trade unions and pension funds to divest from and/or exclude from procurements all corporate criminals involved in Israel’s human rights violations, including home demolitions and ethnic cleansing.” These include Caterpillar, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Volvo and JCB.

Finally, activists are also seeking to maintain the pressure on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights “to stand up to pressure from Israel and its lobby groups and to release the database of 206 corporations involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”

“Israel’s ability to ethnically cleanse the indigenous Palestinian population of Jerusalem and to force Palestinians into Bantustans carved out by its illegal wall and settlements can be hampered by the mobilisation of people power,” the BDS Movement stated.

READ: Israel seeks banning BDS in Europe