Friday, June 26, 2015

Some Good News from Palestine

Some Good News from Palestine

by Stephen Lendman

There's precious little any time. Vicious Israeli persecution horrifically affects life in Occupied Palestine creating intolerable conditions for millions.

In the Negev alone, Israel destroys 1,000 Arabs homes annually on the phony pretext of building without permit permission.

Israeli security forces kidnap Palestinians for wanting to be treated like human beings. Hundreds of Palestinians are imprisoned uncharged and untried. Others are tortured to extract confessions for crimes they didn't commit.

Soldiers target farmers in their fields, fishermen at sea and children at play or going to or from school. They commit cold-blooded murder with impunity.

Israel wages wars of aggression at its discretion. Thousands of Palestinians harmed don't matter. An endless cycle of violence and oppression continues without letup. The world community does nothing to stop it.

Over the past year, investors reacted with their pocket books. The UN Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) World Investment Report indicated foreign investment in Israel plunged nearly 50% in 2014 - hitting the lowest level in more than a decade, from $11.8 billion in 2013 to $6.4 billion in 2014.

Naked aggression on Gaza along with BDS effectiveness are key reasons why. Report co-author Roni Manos said "(w)e believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing."

"In the past there were large transactions such as Waze and ISCAR Metalworking which boosted investment, but over the past year there were not enough such deals."

In July 2013, Haaretz reported investment committees of large European banks recommend to clients where to invest or avoid.

Many investment recommendations considered urging clients avoid loans or other involvement with Israeli companies operating in the West Bank - either manufacturing or selling products or services there.

Reasons given were protracted deadlock toward peace, continued occupation and settlement construction on Palestinian land. Whether any of this adversely affected direct foreign investment (DFI) in Israel isn't known. For sure it didn't help.

FDI fell elsewhere but not as sharply as in Israel. It rose in neighboring Lebanon by 6%. Iran pressured by Western sanctions saw FDI plunge by a third to $2.1 billion.

Israeli tourism is suffering. In May, YNet News reported a 28% drop in 2015 Q I - resulting in hundreds of millions in lost revenues.

Except for crowded Tel Aviv beaches, tourism dropped sharply elsewhere. Operation Protective Edge resulted in "a complete halt in new bookings (and) cancellation of all vacation packages," YN reported.

Business in 2015 is worse. Halted bookings and tour cancellations continue. In Q I, the Israel Hotel Association reported a 28% drop in business. Eilat in southern Israel recorded a 51% decline. Other areas were hard hit - including Jerusalem.

One hotel manager indicated a huge decline in tourism and big drop in room prices for groups. It's much the same across most of Israel.

A tour manager said only pilgrims and Jewish tourists are coming. Palestinian BDS National Committee member Bisan Mitri commented, saying:

"Ten years after its launch, the BDS movement is being recognised by one of the authors of a UN report as starting to have major impacts on the Israeli economy."

"Israel’s shift to the far-right, its intentional crimes against Palestinians and the BDS movement and rapid changes in public opinion following Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza last summer mean that Israel is increasingly becoming a less attractive investment destination."

"Businesses who associate themselves with Israeli violations of international law such as G4S, Veolia and Orange are facing costly public campaigns and being held to account by the BDS movement. Major banks and investors are divesting from companies that participate in Israel’s crimes."

"As Israeli fanatic right-wing ministers have been saying loudly and clearly recently, BDS is a rapidly growing grassroots movement that presents a real challenge to Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid."

Momentum can have a life of its own. Israel is its own worst enemy. The most effective strategy against its lawlessness is economic. 

Whether activism against injustice can continue effectively against Israel where it hurts most remains to be seen. Committed pressure for the long haul has the best chance for success.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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