We heard two stories this week that we wanted to share with you. Israel has destroyed over 800 000 Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank since 1967; andÂ the settlements are expanding at one of the fastest rates ever under the Netanyahu government: 16 000 housing units have been either announced or approved over the last two years.
Clearly, we are in a race against time. The settlements are a major obstacle to a just solution. We must increase efforts to pressure Israel to end illegal settlements.
So, OSS has decided to take our campaigns to the next level:Â we call on the South African government to meet its international legal obligations and end all trade with the illegal settlements!
This is one of the most powerful peaceful messages that we can send to Israel: we will not support its illegal activities. International law requires that states must not assist or provide recognition to another stateâ€™s illegal activities and that all states must work together to bring illegal activities to an end.
What weve been up to
Since our settlement product labelling victory in April, weâ€™ve been busy making sure that everyone is now aware of new regulations for labelling of illegal Israeli settlement products in South Africa.
Weâ€™ve sent letters out to all the major stores in South Africa.Â Weâ€™re also glad to announce thatÂ Wellness Warehouse has agreed to relabel all Ahava products!
Also, two years ago, OSS laid charges with the South African Police Services and the National Consumer Commissioner about Ahavaâ€™s unlawful labelling practices in South Africa. To date, we have received no satisfactory outcome on the complaint despite our attempts to follow up with the Commissioner. Weâ€™ve instructed our lawyers to issue a letter demanding a response on the complaint.
In April this year, we hosted Awad Abdel Fattah, Secretary General of the National Democratic Assembly party and one of 12 Arab Members of the Knesset. Mr Fattah told us about the difficulties of being a Palestinian in Israel and the discriminatory policies towards Palestinians within Israel and the OPT. NDA advocates that Israel be transformed into a liberal democracy with equal citizenship and an end the discrimination and oppression of the Palestinian people.
News from Hebron
- Israeli soldiersÂ uprooted more than 600 olive and almond treesÂ in the area south of Yatta near the city of Hebron. The olive tree has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance and is also a source of livelihood for many Palestinians.
- Palestinian activistÂ Issa Amro was arrested and detained by the IDF in April.Â Founder of several non-violent grassroots movements and winner of the UN award â€˜Human Rights Defender of the Year in Palestineâ€™ in 2010, Issa has been detained several times by the Israeli army with no charges, often abused during detention and verbally and physically attacked by radical settlers. Issa and other activists in Hebron constantly receive death threats, arbitrary detention and violence.
- At leastÂ 47 arrests or detention have taken place that involve children or minorsÂ since February 2013.
You can help us do our work!
Raising funds in todayâ€™s climate is a difficult task.Â You can really help us build our social profile and increase our chances of success simply by sharing this newsletter.
Please also consider making a donation via our secure donations page.Â OSS also recently became a registered non-profit organisation. Our non-profit registration number is 116-847NPO.