For many years, the Palestinian Authority and other sundry actors have been actively trying to promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. But while calling on the rest of the world to boycott Israel, the Palestinians themselves maintain substantial levels of trade with the Jewish state.

Speaking at an exhibition of Palestinian products in Ramallah last month, Fatah Central Committee Secretary General Jibril Rajoub commented: “This activity is significant, and we hope that it will be part of a heightened and comprehensive effort—geographically and socially among all the Palestinians—to develop their understanding and create an awareness for distancing and boycotting the Israeli products.”

While Rajoub calls to boycott Israel and Israeli products, monthly trade reports published by the P.A. Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), prove that without trade with Israel, the Palestinian economy would completely collapse.

According to the reports analyzed by Palestinian Media Watch that cover the last five years, goods purchased by Palestinians from Israel constituted more than half of all the goods imported to the Palestinian market.

In August 2022, for example, all Palestinian imports totaled $729.6 million, of which 56% came from Israel.

While the percentage of goods bought from Israel was high, it is dwarfed by the percentage of Palestinian manufactured goods sold to Israel. According to the reports analyzed by PMW, these goods constituted over 90% of all Palestinian exports.

Since the Palestinian purchases from Israel account for only a very small percentage of Israel’s exports, which exceed trillions of dollars, if the Palestinians were to stop buying from Israel, the impact on the Israeli market would be miniscule.

But if the Israeli market were to respond in kind to the BDS call, and stop buying Palestinian-produced products, the Palestinian economy would face substantial difficulties, losing the ability to market over 90% of its produce.

In the past, PMW has often noted the hypocrisy of the Palestinian calls to the rest of the world to boycott Israel, while the Palestinians themselves continue to buy Israeli products.

IDF Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch is director of Legal Strategies at Palestinian Media Watch.

This article was originally published by Palestinian Media Watch.

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