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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 17th February 2017 > SHOPPING WITH THE ENEMY


Why it’s so hard for Palestinians in the West Bank to boycott Israeli goods


IT’S EARLY afternoon in Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital of the disputed West Bank, and the main fruit and vegetable market is bustling. Vendors and shoppers shout prices and orders in Arabic while they exchange produce in boxes bearing Hebrew letters.

It’s here where battles over international campaigns for boycotts of Israeli products often clash with the reality of local economics. It’s really hard for Palestinians in the West Bank to boycott Israeli goods because the country controls and saturates the market with products, and local and imported alternatives are limited for the average cash-strapped Palestinian.

Amid the crowded stalls and corridors that day, Rezan, who declined to give her last name for privacy reasons, is on a mission to buy mushrooms. In the West Bank, that means Israeli mushrooms, as there’s no Palestinian producer. Rezan has ive people in her family, and they, like many other Palestinians, support the boycott of Israeli goods—in theory. But with few options, she buys what she can ind and aford. “Each has their preferences,” she says. She won’t eat certain Israeli packaged snacks, but she concedes, “I like Israeli chocolate.”

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