Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Palestinian Agricultural Development Association (PARC) renounces the utilization of its’ name by the Israeli company Agrexco

PARC - The Israeli company Agrexco has arranged lately a tour in Europe for a number of Palestinian farmers from the Gaza Strip. The slogan of this visit was to introduce Palestinian producers to the European market standards; the fact that this company helped in exporting a limited amount of strawberries and flowers to the European markets.

During the visit Agrexco tried to exploit the participation of the Palestinian farmers in this tour and use them to undermine all civil society campaigns calling for boycotting Agrexco’s products due to the company’s violation of the agreed upon preferential treatment conditions that apply to Israeli products. Agrexco’s export of settlement products, which are not produced within Israel’s borders, is in violation of European laws and regulations. It is worth noting that PARC is publishing this statement of clarification because its name was used more than once.

The Palestinian farmers who participated in this tour were exploited and their dire need to export their produce was manipulated. It should also be noted that none of the participating farmers represents PARC.

The last attempt by Agrexco to export to Europe limited quantities of strawberries and flowers from the Gaza Strip, exploiting the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza and the inability of Palestinian farmers there to export except through Agrexco, was aimed at beautifying the image of the Israeli occupation and covering up all its ugly crimes against the Palestinian people, and especially through the ongoing Israeli siege of the steadfasting Gaza Strip.

PARC confirms its position from Agrexco which considers the company in breach of international humanitarian law and trade agreements with the European Union, through exporting products of Israeli settlements, which are illegally constructed on stolen Palestinian lands. Moreover, Agrexco is implicated in exploiting the cheap labor of Palestinians farmers, including child labor, to realize profits and gains.

Based on the above, PARC confirms its support for the boycott of all companies that are complicit in breaching international law, including Agrexco. PARC considers international humanitarian law and relevant Palestinian laws as the reference for its work. PARC also denounces the use of its name and status as a fig leaf to circumvent these laws and to undermine the just struggle of the Palestinian people for its freedom and independence, including the immediate lifting of the imposed Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, the full control of Palestinians over their own resources, ports and borders, and enabling free and fair trade for all Palestinian products based on the rules of international trade.

The misuse of Palestinian suffering under occupation is a cheap attempt to deny the Palestinian people its UN-sanctioned national rights. This constitutes a blatant violation, not just of international law but also of moral principles, thereby confirming the justness of the calls for boycotting Agrexco and all companies that profit or benefit from the Israeli occupation and from the system of control imposed by it.

On this occasion, PARC salutes all activists and international supporters for the BDS campaign and especially our French friends and partners who were able to frustrate the Agrexco attempt to conduct a joint press conference with a few exploited Palestinian producers.

The Agricultural Development Association (PARC) is a leading Palestinian non-profit, non-governmental organization involved in rural development and women's empowerment. PARC provides advice, awareness support, services, and special consultancies for individuals, groups, and institutions involved in similar domains. PARC relies on the broad and efficient participation of its beneficiaries, and moreover, on developing the qualifications of its experts to better benefit and develop a democratic Palestinian civil society.