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BDS Jordan celebrates three years of resistance against Israel

By Suzanna Goussous - Aug 29,2017 - Last updated at Aug 29,2017

BDS Jordan now has a total of 103 organisations and institutions supporting the movement, according to a core member (Photo courtesy of Jordan BDS)

AMMAN — Celebrating three years of resistance and awareness raising on Israel’s “apartheid projects” in Palestine earlier this week, Jordan’s Boycott, Investments, and Sanctions (BDS Jordan) movement has announced that 11 Jordanian companies have cut ties with British security company G4S, which they accuse of providing equipment and services to Israeli prisons allegedly using torture.

BDS Jordan started in 2014, when 10 Jordanian women decided to come together to “reactivate the boycott weapon”, as Israel’s aggressions on Gaza took place, Jumana Ismail, Jordan BDS core member said. 

BDS Jordan now has a total 103 organisations and institutions supporting the movement, Ismail said, adding: “BDS is an influential movement. It performs a sustainable and consistent work.” 

She said the movement currently includes a founding team, and teams working in media, merchandise, investments and against Jordan’s gas deal with Israel.

The Jordan BDS also took part in a hunger strike earlier this year, during which it protested in solidarity with the Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners detained in “inhumane conditions” in Israeli jails, Ismail said.

“We managed to get more than 93 civil society organisations to sign a petition in favour of the hunger strike which denounces the Israeli violations of human rights and we have handed it in to the Red Cross in Geneva,” she added.

The work of the investments team has resulted in 11 local companies and businesses ending their cooperation with the G4S, a security company that built the separation wall in the West Bank in addition to assisting in training of Israeli soldiers in occupied Jerusalem.

“The G4S was spotted several weeks ago in Jerusalem transporting the metal detectors and electronic gates prior to their erection at Al Aqsa Mosque,” a recent BDS statement said.  

“G4S is actively training Israeli forces, forces attacking Palestinians in Jerusalem.  G4S holds 50 per cent of Policity Ltd., the company contracted by the Israeli forces to build and operate Israel’s National Police Academy, inaugurated in January 2015,” the statement added.

For its part, the anti-gas deal team has organised the “city-wide blackout” campaign, during which citizens and activists switched off the lights for an hour one day a week to raise awareness on the dangers of signing the gas deal with Israel. 

Ismail said more than 8,000 households took part in the campaign across Jordan to express their rejection of the gas deal and trade with Israel.

“Jordan BDS has also played an important role in spreading awareness on Israel’s colonial projects in Palestine during the Israeli Apartheid Week, which is organised by the BDS movement in 220 cities around the world,” Ismail said.

The merchandise team of Jordan’s BDS has started a campaign aimed at raising public awareness on the origin of goods sold in markets and malls, the activist added.

“Legally speaking, not knowing the origin of the product and where it was imported from violates Article (22) of the Law of Standards and Metrology for the year 2000, and the law criminalises business owners who do not list the product’s origin,” Ismail said.

The movement has urged three of the biggest grocery stores in Amman to reject all the Israeli-imported products and to list the source of the merchandise they sell, she said. 

Another team has been responsible for the educational sessions held in schools and the Jordan BDS summer camp.

The camp is organised annually for activists aged between 13 and 18 years, and seeks to “spread awareness on Israel’s apartheid and the role of citizens in fighting occupation”, its organisers said. 

The plan for next year, Ismail said, includes organising more sessions and activities on the gas deal signed by Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and Israel and to pressure businesses with contracts with G4S to withdraw their agreements.

Politician Laith Shbeilat commended the work of the boycott movement in Jordan, stressing the importance of its activities in fighting Israel’s aggression and colonialism.

“You [activists] work hard, with passion and a good will. You succeed in your work and your influence is much bigger than institutions that claim boycott of Israeli merchandise and fight against Zionism,” he said at the event celebrating the movement’s anniversary.

Director of Projects at Jordan’s Arab Women Organisation Layla Naffa said: “Jordan BDS is a branch of a worldwide movement against Zionism and apartheid… Now is the time to empower and support the BDS movement, through cohesive and comprehensive work.”

Hassan Jaajaa, a volunteer at the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, said awareness should be raised at all levels, including educational, social, political and environmental.

 

He added that Israel’s constant bulldozing of trees in Palestine has not stopped activists from planting trees to replace those cut down by the Zionists, with around 2,200,000 trees replanted in Palestine since 2000.

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