For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonisation, racial discrimination and military occupation.
Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and pre-eminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.
In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society called for a global citizens’ response. On 9th July, 2005, a year after the International Court of Justice’s historic advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a clear majority of Palestinian civil society called upon their counterparts and people of conscience to act to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.
BDS is perhaps the most ambitious, empowering, and promising Palestinian-led global movement for justice and rights. BDS has the capacity to challenge Israel’s colonial rule and apartheid in a morally consistent, effective, and, crucially, intelligent manner. Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement
The campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
- Ending its occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall
- Recognising the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
The BDS call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organisations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the occupied territories, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.