Mahmoud Darwish in the presence of absence (photo by GZ) Anti-wall demonstration in Bi'lin. (Photo by LS) Hisham's Palace, Jericho (photo by GZ) Gilo settlement - Beit Jala (photo by GZ) Mahmoud Darwish on Yasser Arafat- Ramallah (photo by GZ) Cremisan Road, Beit Jala (photo by GZ) Wall grafitti made by Berlin residents. (Photo by CdV) Corridor from Erez crossing into Gaza (Photo by CdV) Bypass road north-south - Jerusalem (photo by GZ) Drone flying over KhanYounis, Gaza. (Photo by CdV) Old city of Hebron (photo by GZ)

2012-2013 Boycott, Divest and Hunger Strike


March: Mahmoud Sarsak, member of the national Palestinian football team, detained without trial by the Israel for three years, launches a hunger strike. Sarsak was arrested on 22 July 2009 at the Erez Crossing, while travelling between his home in Gaza and the West Bank to link up with his new club Balata Youth. He was detained for alleged ties to the Islamic Jehad. Due to lack of sufficient evidence, Sarsak was never tried, yet held prisoner for three years without formal charges. His case evokes worldwide protests.  Professional footballers from across the globe, call for his immediate release. Among them are Eric Cantona, Frédéric Kanouté, UEFA President Michel Platini and FIFA President Sepp Blatter.


April: Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, a mathematician from Jenin accused of (but never formally charged with or tried for) alleged involvement with Islamic Jehad, is released after a hunger strike of 66 days. Adnan went into hunger strike shortly after his internment in December 2011, to protest the conditions of his arrest, Israel's policy of administrative detention and its treatment of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, particularly prisoners.


July: Political activist Samer Issawi and three others launch a hunger strike for their release from Israeli prison.  Issawi was one of the prisoners released as a result of the Shalit-deal, but re-arrested on 7 July 2012, for violating the terms of his release, facing a possible reinstatement of his original 26 year sentence.


Mahmoud Sarsak is released and returns home to Gaza.


November: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the world body to issue its long overdue "birth certificate." The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approves the upgrade of the Palestinian Authority's observer status to "non-member state", seen by many as a de facto recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state.  138 States vote in favor, nine against and 41 abstentions. Dutch Foreign Secretary Frans Timmermans – contrary to statements he made as a member of parliament -  abstained, calling the UN-bid ‘untimely’ and ‘not expedient’.


December: The Israeli army executes Hamas chief Ahmad Al-Jaberi  in a targeted air strike, days after he brokered a cease fire between Hamas and Israel. Hamas retaliates by firing rockets into Israel. Israel bombs the Gaza strip North to South, hitting mainly residential areas. 163 People are killed, approximately half of them are children.


January: Netanyahu’s Likud remains the biggest party despite a loss of 11 seats in the Knesset in Israeli elections. Surprisingly, center-left parties are winning too, which complicates the formation of a government.


President Mahmud Abbas and exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal agree to expedite a stalled reconciliation deal between the rival factions. The decision is made at a meeting in Cairo that was the first in almost a year and is aimed at ending years of bitter and sometimes deadly rivalry.


UN human rights investigators call on Israel to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all half a million Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank, saying that its practices could be subject to prosecution as possible war crimes.


February: British-Dutch multinational Unilever shuts down Ariel settlement factory, moving production out of Occupied Palestinian territory. Unilever, despite having been subject to campaigns encouraging withdrawal from the illegal settlement on the West Bank, claims the move is a result of ‘pure business motives’.


EU diplomats, mainly consuls,  utter severe criticism towards Israel for its Jerusalem and settlement policies.  Their report – that was leaked to the media – states that “settlement construction remains the biggest single threat to the two-state solution” and calls for East Jerusalem to be treated as the capital of the Palestinian state. The report goes on to suggest that public awareness be raised about settlement products, "for instance by providing guidance on origin labeling for settlement products to major EU retailers.


March: Netanyahu’s Likud party forges a coalition with the secular party Yesh Atid, the nationalist Jewish Home and the secular Hatnuah fraction of former Minister Livni.


The Netherlands announce the establishment of guidelines to properly label retail products from Israeli settlements in occupied territory. Settlement products are often - and wrongfully - labeled ‘Made in Israel’.  Belgium announces it will look into talking similar steps.


US president Obama visits Israel and the West Bank for the first time. He calls upon Netanyahu and Abbas to reignite peace talks, yet has no concrete plan. Protests erupt throughout the West Bank, reproaching Obama making ‘promises of hope and change’, yet giving Palestinian ‘colonies and Apartheid’.


The Russell Tribunal on Palestine convenes in Brussels for its closing session. It urges the European Union to suspend the EU-Israel association agreement and calls upon Member States to ban  the import of products from Israeli settlements. These are but a few recommendations issued by the Brussels-based ‘public inquiry’, which carried out a four-year investigation into  the complicity of States, international organisations, institutions and private corporations in Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.


With 18 votes in favour and 2 opposed, the board of the York Federation of Students (Canada) passes the resolution to endorse the BDS campaign, as well as a demand that York University abide by the BDS call; specifically urging the university to withdraw its investments from Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Amphenol and other companies that are selling weapons and military equipment to Israel.


The board of directors of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) US unanimously decides that it will “not knowingly invest in companies that benefit from products or services used to perpetrate acts of violence against Palestinians, Israelis and other people groups.”


After 8 months of hunger strike, Samer Issawi’s lawyer and sister Shireen Issawi reports that her brother is at risk of imminent death and living on artificial ventilation.


April: At its Annual Congress the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) becomes the first academic union in Europe to endorse the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel. The motion, which refers to Israel as an Apartheid state, calls for “all members to cease all cultural and academic collaboration with Israel, including the exchange of scientists, students and academic personalities, as well as all cooperation in research programmes” is passed by a unanimous vote.


Israeli authorities announce Samer Issawi is to be released in eight months’ time and is eating again.