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UK: Boycott Israeli dates during Ramadan

08-08-2010

London, (IRNA): British Muslims are being urged to ensure that they do not inadvertently eat Israeli dates when breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramadan in protest at the continued occupation of Palestinian territories.

Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) are campaigning for a massive boycott of particularly Medjoul dates that are grown in illegal Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley and exported all over the world.

"At a time when we are thinking about people less fortunate than ourselves it would be hypocritical and an affront not only to ignore what's happening about Palestine but also to support it by buying dates from Israel,” said FOA’s Shamiul Joarder.

“Buying these dates means that you are actually helping Israeli settlers steal Palestinian land. You're fuelling oppression," Joarder said in a statement obtained by IRNA.

The focus on dates is because of their symbolic importance to Muslims, who traditionally eat them at sunset during the holy fasting month that starts next week.

The boycott is being supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) as well as a number of groups, including War on Want and Jews Boycotting Israeli Goods.

“Israelis claim Palestinians are given jobs working on the land of these settlers and a boycott will harm them. In actual fact, these Palestinians are employed for paltry wages, to do the back-breaking work that the Israeli settlers will not do themselves.”

PSC said: “Settlers exploit Palestinian children, who are forced to miss out on their education and work long hours under the hot baking sun for small sums of money,” it said.

PSC said the result is that the price of dates produced on illegal Israeli settlement is cheaper compared to those produced by Palestinian farmers.

“Don't let your money go towards entrenching Israel's occupation of Palestine. Check the label. Do not buy dates that come from: Israel, West Bank or Jordan Valley,” it warned.

"Israel is breaking UN law day in and day out. What we're saying is enough is enough. Just look at South Africa, when people boycotted goods coming out of South Africa – the oranges, sport, they felt it," said Ruqayyah Collector from PSC.

PSC is also planning to step up its boycott campaign by naming and shaming shops and stores which refuse to remove Israeli dates from their shelves.

It is estimated that illegal settlement dates account for about 15% of exports from Israel to the EU, equivalent to around €80 million a year in income.

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