About three weeks ago, a story appeared in Haaretz titled “Who’s selling peace in the supermarket?” The story was about an Israeli journalist who, on his visit to a Rami Levy store in the illegal settlement of Gush Etzion, coincidently stumbled upon the Israeli businessman Rami Levy and the Palestinian billionaire Munib Masri announcing (informally) their intentions to form a coalition that will supposedly move peace forward based on the two-state solution by strengthening the economic relationship between the two.
A few days later, Masri, who is the the chair of the massive private Palestinian holding company PADICO disclosed to Ma’an News Agency that there are currently efforts by Palestinian businessmen and independent characters to revive the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative in coordination with Israeli right-wing figures. What Masri failed to announce is that the settler and supermarket mogul Rami Levi is the major character in this coalition.
Rami Levy is the target of a global boycott campaign as he is a pivotal element in supporting the illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank. Even the Palestinian Authority has called for a boycott of settlements and has promised to punish Palestinian West Bank citizens who go shop at Rami Levy stores in West Bank settlements.
Today, the Boycott National Committee (BNC), the steering committee of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, issued a strong statement in Arabic condemning the Masri-Levy relationship, stating it contradicted Palestinian rights and interests, and should be ended at once. The BNC strongly attacked the relationship between some Palestinian and Israeli business people, stating:
The warm relations between a segment of Palestinian capitalists and Israeli capitalists, details of which have recently emerged, is one of the worst forms of normalization which provides the [Israeli] occupation a fig leaf to cover up its continued occupation, ethnic cleansing, racism, siege of Gaza, land confiscation and settlement construction, and denial of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
The BNC statement concluded by saying those who claim to support the Palestinian national interest shouldn’t ally themselves with those who entrench the occupation, support the settlements, and contribute to the violation of inalienable Palestinian civil and national rights.