The Palestinian Authority (PA) is sponsoring a campaign to limit the natural growth of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, ahead of its lawsuit to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel, Israel National News reported.
The Palestinian Organization for the Struggle Against Settlements campaign, nicknamed “advancement towards the mountains”, is placing caravans and planting trees at strategic locations, aimed at cutting off natural growth of Jewish towns in the direction of Arab villages in the area. Caravans were established on the mountains near Jamma’in and Huwara as part of the campaign.
PA official Rasan Daglas, who leads the organization in the Nablus area, told the Hamas paper Palestine on Sunday that the goal of the campaign is to demonstrate the Arab residents’ commitment to the land in the face of the “daily crimes of the occupation settlers.”
The plan is to place caravans on what Daglas called “threatened” land and strategic hilltops in order to stake their claim. More than 200 sites will be targeted by activists.
The campaign comes just two weeks before the PA is set to bring war crimes charges against Israel at the ICC for its “settlement enterprise”, claiming Israel’s activities in Judea and Samaria are illegal. This despite the 2012 Levy Report which conclusively demonstrated Israel’s legal right to build in the region, given prior agreements promising the land to the Jews and Jordan’s failure to annex the land when it controlled the region from 1948 to 1967.
Meanwhile, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas spoke Monday to leaders of African nations, urging them to boycott Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria, reported The Times of Israel. Speaking at the 25th African Union assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa, Abbas asked Africa to follow the European Union’s lead in labelling products made in the Biblical Jewish heartland.
The EU is expected to require the labeling of products made in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem in the near future.
“We must boycott the settlements which were established on Arab land, contrary to international law and resolutions,” Abbas said, according to the official Palestinian Wafa news agency.
In 2013, Abbas shocked the world by announcing that he does not support a blanket boycott of Israel, but rather one that targets Judea and Samaria specifically.
“No, we do not support the boycott of Israel,” the Palestinian leader had told a group of South African reporters at the time. “But we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements. Because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal.”
The BDS movement does call for a general boycott of all Israeli products and institutions, something that “the Palestinian national consensus” has supported since 2005, according to BDS founder Omar Barghouti, who spoke to the Electronic Intifada following Abbas’s comments.