Saturday, August 14, 2010
Be careful when buying dates this Ramadaan
Are the DATES you buying to break fast this Ramadaan supplied by-Israel (from the date plantations "stolen" from the-Palestinians)
Medjool or (Mujhoolah) (Arabic: 'unknown') - from Morocco, also grown in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Jordan Valley and Israel; a large, sweet and succulent date. It is named unknown because who owned it at first didn't know its specie and thus called it unknown.
What we do know, is that Namibia produces the Medjool date for export. South Africa being one of its importers. We are also aware that importers do not necessarily buy from the closest source.
Growing dates is one of the major agricultural activities carried out by nearly half of the Israeli settlements located in the Jordan Rift Valley, and contributes significantly to their economic viability. "Jordan Plains" and "Jordan River" are the major Israeli date export brands. The main date varieties grown in the Jordan Valley are "Medjoul" and "Deglet Nour". In the case of Jordan Plains, the dates the company markets are grown exclusively on Israeli settlement plantations. Jordan Plains dates are exported in market bulk packages (5 kgs) as "Produce of Jordan Valley - Israel" by the Agrexco Agricultural Export Company under its brand label "Carmel".
It may be called Jordan or Jordan River Valley but the fact is that the land on which these dates are grown was taken away from the Palestinian people. Now some plantations use poor Palestinian children to harvest the dates. They are sent up in cranes and are given a quota of dates to pick for the day. Child labour under harsh and inhumane conditions.
In the case of Jordan River, Jordan River Bio Top and King Solomon (brand names of Hadiklaim - the Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd.), dates grown on Israeli settlements are either: co-mingled with dates grown on date plantations inside Israel, packaged at settlement packing houses in bulk packages (5 kgs) which are identical to the bulk packages used at the main Jordan River packing houses inside Israel.
Market bulk packages of dates are available generally via wholesalers and in street fruit and vegetable markets. In supermarkets and produce stores the dates are often re-packaged into smaller quantities which designate Israeli origin. These smaller quantities are sometimes packaged under the supermarket's own label.
All we are asking is that you as the conscious Muslim consumer ask your supplier where the dates are grown. Will your conscience as a human being allow you to consume dates grown on stolen land or dates harvested using child labour under harsh conditions ?
Please pass on to everyone you know. The truth is South Africans consume a huge amount of dates every year, especially during Ramadaan. If South Africa wholesalers are importing from occupied Israel. STOP IT ! NOW.