Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a Palestinian-led campaign to snub Israeli goods sought the "elimination" of Israel, following a boycott row with French telecoms giant Orange.
"I think it's important that the international community stop giving the Palestinians a free pass," Netanyahu said after meeting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek.
"They're engaging in BDS, which calls for the elimination of Israel," said Netanyahu of the grassroots Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Currently Netanyahu is under growing pressure to knuckle down and apply himself to a two state solution – which EU experts insist must mean that his government halts immediately any more illegal settlements on West Bank land, for example.
Recently, the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini made a veiled threat that the EU itself would move forward with plans to install rules in Europe so that Israeli goods coming from occupied lands would be clearly labeled for consumers to chose – a sanction of sorts as it would hurt Israeli's economy considerably.
" That is a strong and peaceful message to Israel's destructive occupation of the Palestinian territories, that we cannot accept to further erode the foundations of a Palestinian state, said Alyn Smith MEP when responding to Netanyahu's comments.
Belgium is one EU country which acted alone and went ahead on its own to enforce such a rule in its supermarkets while 16 EU countries have written to Mogherini asking her to draft new EU laws which would make it mandatory across the 28 member state block.
Sanctions or boycotts ('BDS') has been the central theme for Israeli politicians and media since last week when the chief executive of Orange said his firm was planning to withdraw its brand from Israel.
Stephane Richard's comments came just four weeks after the publication of a report accusing Orange of indirectly supporting settlement activity through its relationship with Partner Communications.
Israel reacted furiously, accusing Orange of succumbing to BDS pressure.
Netanyahu cited what he called "one of the leaders" of BDS as stating that its real aim was "to bring down the State of Israel."
The international community regards all Israeli construction on Palestinian land seized during the 1967 Six-Day War as illegal.
"Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the State of Israel," Netanyahu added.
"It's a rejectionist extremist Palestinian position in which there is no room for Israel in any borders."
The premier spoke with Zaoralek of the need to return to "direct negotiations without preconditions" with Palestinian officials, professing his commitment to "a solution of two states for two peoples."
According to Netanyahu, the Palestinians "refuse to negotiate and then try to get boycotts on Israel for there not being negotiations, which they refuse to enter. Catch 22."
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) is a global campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with the stated goals of the movement: the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The campaign was started on 9 July 2005 by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations in support of the Palestinian cause for boycott, divestment and international sanctions against Israel. Citing a body of UN resolutions and specifically echoing the anti-apartheid campaigns against white minority rule in apartheid era South Africa, the BDS campaign called for "various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law".
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.