BDS workshop in Bil’in in occasion of Israeli Apartheid Week
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BDS workshop in Bil’in in occasion of Israeli Apartheid Week

To mark the Israeli Apartheid Week, which has seen conferences and protests all over the globe from March 1 – 14, the Stop the Wall Campaign organized in cooperation with the AlHadaf Cultural Center of Bil’in a workshop on the role of civil society in the national and international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

***image2***The workshop was held on Saturday March 13 and moderated by Ahmed Abu-Rahma, steering committee member of the AlHadaf Cultural Center. Some 25 youth activists attended the event.

The first speaker, Mr. Jamal Juma, Coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign discussed the connection between the Israeli plans of Judaizing the Negev, Galilee and Jerusalem and the creation of the Bantustans and ghettos in the West Bank and Gaza. He further went on to discuss effective ways to confront these policies by strengthening the popular resistance on the ground and boycotts and anti-normalization locally within the communities, civil society organizations and national institutions. He underlined that strengthening the resistance here is a necessary element to strengthen the BDS movement outside.

For her part, Hind Awwad, the Palestine coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) highlighted the success and importance of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW): “IAW has become one of the foremost important events in the solidarity calendar with Palestine. In over 40 cities around the world, activists are organizing to reveal Israel’s apartheid policies, and to expand the fast growing BDS movement working on programs to boycott Israel and the withdrawal of investments.”
She further called for the expansion of boycott of Israeli goods at the country level: “Al ‘Azzeh camp, where the refugees started a widespread campaign to clean the camp from all Israeli goods, should be a national example and the boycott has to spread to all Palestinian camps, villages and cities.”

In the closing of the event Ahmad Samara, cofounder of the Land Defense Committees, spoke about the importance of the BDS campaign and the anti-normalization movement. He underlined the negative effect of the Oslo period and that many of the obstacles for boycotts are side effects of the Oslo spirit. He therefore called on all present to remain steadfast and to ensure that the Palestinian National Authority will not make any further concessions over our rights.

This event has been part of many other events – particularly in Bethlehem district – that have included exhibits, discussion panels, cultural activities and dissemination of leaflets. This week’s Friday protests against the apartheid wall were also part of IAW with people holding placards with slogans such as “Your Wall Says Apartheid – We Say Boycott!”.