Before buying dates this Ramadhan, check the label and ensure they are not a produce of ISRAEL, WEST BANK or the JORDAN VALLEY! If that is what the label says then it is highly likely that they were grown on illegal settlements by Israelis.
Do not forget your brothers and sisters in Palestine, left with little to open their fasts with since they were evicted from their homes, their houses were destroyed and their land stolen. Supporting the purchase of these dates increases Israeli income, which according to some estimates, accounts for 15% of exports to the EU gaining about €80m (£66m) profits annually.i In fact, it is reported that Israel pocketed $265m (£168m) (global) profit in 2011 alone.ii Israel produce half of the worlds medjoul dates.iii Consequently, aiding Israeli occupation and the oppression of innocent Palestinians. An alternative to this is to support Palestinian farmers who produce the very same dates. One such organisation can be found here: http://www.zaytoun.org/.
Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, yet Israel has managed to build well over 230 settlements in the West bank alone.iv
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister summarises,
"We are building in Jerusalem because it is our right and our duty to this generation and future generations, not as punishment but as the basic right of our people to build in its eternal city,"v
The United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel's construction of settlements constitutes violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice also says these settlements are illegal, and no foreign government supports Israel's settlements.
Produce from illegal settlements should therefore not be sold in the UK. However, Israel has tactfully misleading labels to hide the fact that they export vast amounts of fresh produce every year. 'Produce of West bank', for example, may lead consumers to wrongfully believe that they are a produce of Palestinians.
The Co-operative Group has become the first major European supermarket group to end trade with companies that export produce from illegal Israeli settlements. Hilary Smith, Co-op member and Boycott Israel Network (BIN) agricultural trade campaign co-ordinator, said the Co-op "has taken the lead internationally in this historic decision to hold corporations to account for complicity in Israel's violations of Palestinian human rights We strongly urge other retailers to take similar action."vi
Sainsbury's on the other hand, clearly sells dates produced by the company Mehadrin, well known for being involved in sourcing fresh produce from settlements. FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa) is also asking campaigners to write to Sainsbury's and avoid shopping there till they comply.
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa salam), has been reported to say, "He who buys the stolen property, with the knowledge that it was stolen, shares in the sin and shame of stealing." (Bayhaqi)
On the 21st of June, Friends of al-Aqsa are calling for 'National Check the Label Boycott Israeli dates day'.vii The idea is to campaign strongly on this day and raise awareness in preparation for Ramadhan , the time when many Muslims unknowingly purchase Israeli dates. Flyers are being distributed to bring light to which brands originated from Israel, including:
Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) are inviting people to join their campaign to raise awareness through pamphleting, Facebook and Twitter. Further details can be obtained from http://checkthelabel.org.uk/