Despite BDS calls, Arab farmers train in Israel to improve Gaza agriculture

( Two groups of Arab farmers left Gaza this week to attend an agricultural seminar in northern Israel with the goal of improving Gaza’s agricultural industry. According to the office of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), 60 Gazans participated in the conference despite calls from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement calling to boycott Israeli products and industries.

Click photo to download. Caption: Arab farmers from Gaza go Israel to learn how to improve the cultivation of cucurbitacae (cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and similar fruit). Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The conference was sponsored by Origins Seeds Company, which exports cucurbitacae (cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and similar fruit) and seeds to 17 countries, including Hamas-controlled Gaza and Palestinian Authority-controlled territory.

“During the seminar, the farmers completed several workshops on cultivation methods, planting schedules, soil preparation, proper use of irrigation and fertilizer and disinfestations methods… the farmers… had stated that this year, owing to the training programs conducted frequently in Israel, growers had achieved unprecedented crop yields—11 tons of produce for each decare of cultivated fields—a twofold increase compared with the preceding year,” COGAT's website stated last year, according to Israel National News.

Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs, told  that Israel "should be credited and emulated for its commitment to cooperation like this, even if it is with people who come from a sworn enemy area like Hamas-controlled Gaza."

"The Palestinian farmers who are defying the Arab boycott of cooperation with Israel, are indeed very brave," Rothstein said. "The BDS movement harms everyone and will never lead to peaceful coexistence. This certainly demonstrates Israel's strong desire to build bridges towards peace."

Posted on July 12, 2013 .