Jumping obstacles; the Israeli settlement course

  • Hitham Kayali

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Since 2005, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its opinion
deeming the Israeli Separation Wall and settlements illegal, there have been
significant developments in the nonviolent methods adopted for countering Israeli occupation. While Palestinian nonviolent resistance has existed throughout history, from this time onwards, there have been a number of factors that give this period its unique traits.

The most central method that has been adopted by all nonviolent actors is to influence economic interaction with Israel in a way that is in line with
international law, and is supportive of the official positions adopted by the
countries that nonviolent activists aim to influence.

While Israeli settlements are illegal according to international law, they include
industrial areas that export products to many countries. Through this contradiction, nonviolent activists have found an opportunity to pressurise
countries to end their economic ties with those settlements, and consequently put pressure Israel to change its settlement policies. Some of these call for ending economic ties with Israel itself, because it is upholding the settlements, and some
call for ending ties only with Israeli settlements; in other words, some target the
criminal and others just the crime.

In 2010, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) adopted its first unilateral
program that was not in agreement with Israel, and which introduced a strategy for the cessation of economic ties with Israeli settlements. This was done through
a mixture of national public awareness campaigns to influence consumer
behaviour, and the introduction of legislation by which it became illegal for
Palestinian enterprises to have any economic ties with Israeli settlements.

After starting by focussing on its own markets, the PNA called upon other
countries to follow suit by lobbying government officials, parliamentarians, and financial institutions. However, this action came five years after a call for a full
boycott, including divestment and sanctions against Israel, made by Palestinian
civil society organizations and political parties. This call, known as the BDS call
had gained tremendous support and amalgamated a large pool of members
internationally by the time that the PNA started with its campaign for a limited boycott. This disparity has had a significant influence on the dynamics of the
boycott movement, both locally in Palestine and globally.

This research explores those dynamics. It takes an in-­‐‑depth look at the effort to end economic ties with settlements, including who the actors are, what they aim for, how they interact, and how effective they have been. The PNA’s program to end economic ties with settlements was chosen as a case study for this doctoral
thesis, because of its central position in relation to the topic and the unique access to its documentation through the author’s previous role as its director.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorMarwan Darweish (Supervisor)


  • Land settlement
  • Economic aspects
  • West Bank
  • Military occupation
  • Israel
  • Government policy

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