One of the readers of this blog pointed out that the apples I was denouncing in my pervious post were actually Syrian apples, not Israeli. That's correct. I fell for the way the Ha'aretz article presented the story: according to the article, Israeli apples were being exported from the Golan to the Gulf via Syria, in coordination of various Israeli ministries and in the hope of achieving more "normalization" in the Middle East. That ticked me off!
The producers of these apples, the Arab residents of the Golan who are under Israeli occupation, do not recognize these apples as Israeli. And it is almost certain that they don't have the same "normalizing" agenda the Israelis have. In fact, these apples were produced despite the Israelis and as a form of resistance to attempts to normalize the Israeli occupation. Here's what the Ha'artez article left out:
"The cultivation of fruit trees remained, although it too was impacted by the occupation, since the Israeli authorities had transformed part of the land to minefields and military routes. Cultivating fruit trees became a good source of income, especially apple trees, and the inhabitants of the Golan have continued to do so, resisting Israeli products until this day. These thrived in the field due to the suitable climate and nearby natural water springs which the Israeli authorities had not been able to confiscate. Several artesian wells had been dug alongside these springs by the Israeli Authorities and the settlers, reducing its amplitude. The good working spirit of the farmers was also an important contributor to their success in this area, as they constantly sensed the danger of losing their lands.
The cultivation of apples is not only a key source of income, it increases the relationship between the farmer and the land and stands in the way of it being confiscated, since it is rooted with trees. In response to Israel's siege and land confiscation policies, the inhabitants transformed the largest part of their un-irrigated land to cultivated land and planted it with fruit trees by investing substantial amounts of money in it. This was not very profitable from a pure economic perspective, and it was rather costly for the residents. However, it was the only possible way to maintain the land. Unfortunately, the cultivation of fruit trees requires water for irrigation, and Israeli authorities tried to deprive the farmers of the necessary water by confiscating most of the surface and ground water resources."
Finally, you can order apples from Majdal Shams here.