0224-OBOYCOTTISRAEL-date-palm_full_600Drive down the steep road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, and as the desert hills unfold toward the Jordan River the eye meets hundreds of rows of lush palms laden with succulent dates. More than a third of the world’s Medjool dates are grown here in the Jordan Valley, a narrow strip of the West Bank where Israeli agriculture is flourishing. Nearly all Israeli grape exports, as well as abundant crops of peppers and herbs, also come from this arid region. The European Union, Israel’s No. 1 trading partner, accounts for about a third of its total trade, and was long the favored destination for Jordan Valley produce. But these fruits and vegetables are grown on land that Israel has occupied since 1967. For a growing number of European consumers, that’s a problem. They say that buying such produce is supporting the illegal confiscation and control of land and water resources that should be in Palestinian hands. More