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In 2005 Palestinian civil society issued a call for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights”.  It was endorsed by more than 150 Palestinian groups and is a non-violent tactic. It follows  "decades of refusal to abide by UN resolutions, International Humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention." Businesses operating in illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine have also been targeted.

BDS describes itself as "a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity."

Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

The campaign has successfully persuaded governments, churches and banks to divest from companies involved in Israeli occupation, or which are operating in Israeli settlements in Palestine. It has also seen several targeted companies change their practices and break their ties with the Israeli government or relocate from settlements there. Read more about the Israel boycott.

Date boycott started