I have come to the conclusion that the only moral response to Israel’s version of Apartheid for Palestinians is to boycott Israel and its products and to encourage others to do the same. It seems to be a waste of my time to keep demanding that the US government stop giving Israel $3 billion per year in military aid and stop vetoing resolutions in the UN Security Council that would hold Israel accountable for its actions.
Many others have examined the moral implications and the philosophical rationale of a boycott. However, I haven’t been able to find a short summary of the facts about Israel’s occupation of Palestine, so I have written one, to help people understand why a boycott is necessary:
When Israel illegally annexed 78% of historic Palestine in 1948, Israeli forces destroyed 531 Palestinian villages and killed 13,000 Palestinians. A total of 737,166 Palestinians were driven from their homes and land and not allowed to return. When Israel invaded and illegally annexed East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, another 200,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes. The illegal settlements and the construction of the separation wall and home demolitions have driven another 57,000 Palestinians from their homes. Today, there are roughly 7.2 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants worldwide, of which 4.3 million are registered for UN humanitarian assistance. Most of them live miserable lives in refugee settlements just over the border from Israel or are trapped inside the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Under the Oslo II Accord, Palestinians were given control of 18% of the West Bank and share joint control of another 22%, so Palestinians now control 4% or 9% of their historic homeland, depending on how you count it. Israel, however, has build settlements, highways, checkpoints and a separation wall, which rob Palestinian land and make it extremely difficult to travel within the West Bank and to import and export goods, so it is difficult to say that Palestinians have much control over their own territory.
The media often portrays Israel as the victim of terrorism by Palestine and its neighbors, but Israel has rejected repeated opportunities to come to a peaceful resolution of its conflicts. Instead, it has chosen to pursue an expansionist and militaristic policy of annexing more Palestinian land and more armed conflict with its neighbors, as documented by Benny Morris’s _Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999_ and Avi Shlaim’s _The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World_.
Israel deliberately restricts the amount of electricity and water that Palestinians can obtain. The annual electricity consumption per capita in Israel is 6,562 kWh, whereas it is only 950 kWh in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza. The average Palestinian in the West Bank consumes 73 liters of water per day, compared 369 liters/day by the average Israeli settler. 313,000 Palestinians in the West Bank have no access to a water network and about 50,000 Palestinians live on less than 20 liters each per day. In the Jordan Valley, Israeli settlers consume 700 liters/day, whereas Palestinians living in al-Hadidiya only consume 22 liters/day. The average per capita water consumption in the Gaza Strip is better at 88.7 liters/day, but 97% of Gaza’s fresh water supply is contaminated with sewerage or salt. Israel exasperated the situation by bombing wells, water pipelines and sewerage treatment plants in 2014 and by making it difficult to Gaza to obtain the materials from abroad to construct their water infrastructure.
Israel restricts the imports of the raw materials needed to manufacture medicine in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and only allows the import of medicine through Israel, which makes medicine very expensive and hard to get inside Palestine. In addition, Israel makes it very difficult for Palestinians to go abroad to study, so there are very few trained doctors inside of Palestine. There are only 0.22 specialist doctors per 1000 residents in Palestine, compared to 1.76 per 1000 residents in Israel. Likewise, there are only 1.9 nurses per 1000 residents in Palestine, compared to 4.8 nurses per 1000 residents in Israel. 75% of Palestine’s tax revenue is collected by Israel, but Israel frequently refuses to transfer the funds to the Palestinian government, so that it can pay for its hospitals and public services.
The net result of these policies is that 19 out of every 1000 Palestinian babies die, compared to 4 out of every 1000 Israeli babies. The average life expectancy in Palestine is 10 years less than in Israel.