Seven Palestine solidarity activists are in court in Britain this week facing prosecution but aiming to use the case to highlight the call for boycott and divestment from Apartheid Israel. The case will argue that trade with Israeli companies, which profit from the Occupation and the oppression of the Palestinian people, is illegal and must be ended.
In November 2004 the activists took part in a blockade outside the UK base of an Israeli agricultural import/export company, Agrexco. The company is 50% Israeli state owned and is the largest importer of Israeli agricultural produce into the European Union. Much of this produce is imported from settlements in the West Bank. The blockade prevented all motor vehicle traffic going in and out of the building for several hours before the group was arrested.
The protesters, who are being defended by a Palestinian lawyer, will argue in court that they acted to prevent crimes against international law that are being supported by Agrexco.
In an earlier hearing last September the judge ruled that Agrexco â which carries out its business in settlements built on occupied Palestinian land â must prove that its business is lawful.
The activistsâ defence will use a series of expert international witnesses to stress the legal basis and need for an economic boycott of Apartheid Israel. The defence counsel will also call several Palestinians to give first-hand testimony about the devastating impact of Agrexcoâs business in the occupied Jordan Valley.
Solidarity activists across the UK are using the trial to hold a number of parallel events to raise awareness of the Occupation and the growing boycott campaign, including press conferences, Palestinian cultural gatherings and public meetings.