Anti-Israel demonstrators. (AP/Claude Paris) (AP/Claude Paris)

Palestinian support for BDS is consistently dropping, a poll shows. This should not be surprising, as boycotting Israel escalates the Palestinian employment crisis.

The anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement has been working relentlessly around the globe to combat the Jewish State in any arena possible, supposedly in support of the Palestinian cause. However, a recent poll shows that the Palestinians themselves are not interested in BDS and their support of the movement is constantly declining.

A poll published on Tuesday by the the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC), which is run by a group of Palestinian journalists and researchers, “clearly” shows that there has been a “distinct setback” in the level of support among Palestinians for and “practice of boycott campaigns of Israeli products in general.”

Support for boycotts on Israel among Palestinians has dropped from 59.2 percent in March to 49.1 percent in August. Moreover, the percentage of those who support the boycott of Israeli products coming from communities in Judea and Samaria only rose from 7.6 percent in March to 9.4 percent in August.

In the same time period, the percentage of respondents who said they boycott all Israeli products dropped from 48.8 to 34.1 percent.

Palestinian Workers the First to Suffer from a Boycott

Anyone familiar with the implications of BDS activities would not be surprised by these results. Lack of support for BDS among Palestinians makes sense – they are the first to suffer if Israeli products are boycotted, because they lose their jobs when Israeli factories are shut down.

There are 14 Israeli industrial and agricultural parks in Judea and Samaria, including 788 factories and businesses employing some 11,000 Palestinian workers directly alongside 6,000 Israelis. Many thousands more Palestinians earn their livelihoods through secondary services provided to the Israeli factories, such as transportation and the sale of materials.

If these factories are shut down and moved elsewhere in Israel, the Israeli employees will find new jobs, whereas the Palestinians will be out on the street, searching for a job in the Palestinian Authority (PA), which suffers from a high unemployment rate.

The Al-Hura Arab-language TV network ran a segment in 2014 on unemployment in the Palestinian Authority (PA). Part of the presentation focused on Palestinians employed by Israeli-owned factories in Judea and Samaria that are constantly under threat of BDS, especially by countries belonging to the European Union (EU).

Israelis and Palestinians work side by side at factory in Judea. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israelis and Palestinians work side by side at factory in Judea. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A Palestinian employee at the Barkan Industrial Park in Samaria told the Al-Hura reporter: “Living is expensive and the financial state is very difficult. There are [Palestinian] places of employment that do not pay you in the end. Here I work and get paid every month with no problems.”

The reporter added that the financial state in the PA is dire and that these people, by working in Israeli factories, help alleviate unemployment in the PA.

“According to our data there is a 23-percent unemployment rate in the PA and 33 percent live under the poverty line as defined by the PA,” said Dr. Muhamad Aashatiya, PA Chair Mahmoud Abbas’s senior adviser.

“It’s not enough to tell people not to work in Israeli factories. You need to provide an alternative,” he added.

Furthermore, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, workers in industrial zones in Judea and Samaria are paid twice to three times the average Palestinian salary and receive full social benefits as prescribed by Israeli law. In addition, Palestinian businessmen prefer the Israeli economy’s stability and comparative freedom over the corrupt PA.

Employment of Palestinians by Israelis is so outstanding that the Palestinian media, which is usually notoriously anti-Israel, lauded Israel for its fair treatment of Palestinian workers.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel


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