Protest march
© AFP
Palestinian Protest
On 11 May, the British government announced plans to ban local councils and other public bodies from participating in boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel.

The announcement came during a speech by the Queen of England on 10 May, delivered by Prince Charles on her behalf at the opening of Parliament. The Prince said the government would "introduce legislation to prevent public bodies from engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion."

The bill is seen as an attempt to silence the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure the Israeli government to end its occupation of Palestine.

According to Al Mayadeen, this is not the first time the Conservative Party has attempted to pass legislation prohibiting public agencies from engaging with BDS organizations, but previous attempts to sign the bill into law were rejected by the Supreme Court, in part due to a lack of adequate legislation.

Pro-Palestinian groups in the UK have condemned the bill and announced that they will oppose it.

Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director of Human Rights Watch, said:
"Any anti-boycott laws are likely to stop public sector bodies from doing the right thing and disentangling themselves from human rights abuses."
The Friends of Al Aqsa movement (FOA) said in a statement:
"In the case of Palestine, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a peaceful movement calling on Israel to comply with international law and end the illegal occupation of Palestine."
Since 2005, the BDS movement has sought the boycott of all Israeli products manufactured on illegally occupied Palestinian land.

The human rights organization, Amnesty International, confirmed on 10 February, that actions by Israel against Palestinians constitute the crime of apartheid.

According to the BDS movement:
"The Amnesty International report is the latest in a series of studies confirming what Palestinian and international human rights experts and advocates have been saying for decades: Israel is perpetrating the crime of apartheid against the indigenous Palestinian people."
On the same day that the British government announced plans to prohibit acts of boycott against Israel, Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Aqla Nasri, a renowned Palestinian-American journalist, was shot in the head by occupation troops in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. Journalists were covering the latest Israeli raid on Jenin when occupation troops opened fire on them.

Israel has been storming cities in the West Bank after a series of retaliatory operations by Palestinians in the occupied territories. Jenin is seen as the heart of Palestinian armed resistance within the occupied West Bank.