Israel and Palestine accuse each other of promoting drug use

Israel and Palestine’s authorities have found a new topic to argue over. Palestinians claim that Israeli soldiers are introducing their young people to drug use. Israel’s Government has built a wall which makes it more difficult to smuggle drugs from neighbouring countries like Palestine or Syria.

Due to this situation recent investigations show an increase in cannabis domestic cultivation in Israel. “While we are successfully foiling attempts to smuggle hash, we are also noticing a spike in seizures of home operations,” said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

Israel is today a world leader country in therapeutic use of cannabis where about 9,000 patients suffering from diseases such as cancer or multiple sclerosis use this drug regularly. Boaz Wachtel, founder of Alei Yarok, or the Green Leaf Party, and a key figure in bringing medicinal cannabis to the country said: “The stuff grown inside Israel is of higher quality. Some hash coming in from Lebanon was just clay mixed with sap.”

However recreational use of cannabis is illegal and neither is it something that Israeli society would accept. Recent polls show that only 26% of the population would agree with legalization of cannabis. This percentage compares with the 52% acceptance rate of people who are in favor of legalising recreational cannabis

Economic issues

According to the Market Studies institute Israel’s black market represents around £441 million a year. The same institute says that legalizing use of cannabis would generate millions of pounds in tax income. “Recognizing the enormous financial gains that would come from legalization demands that the government take a serious look” at the idea, said Yarden Gazit, a research fellow at the Institute.

Research also shows that Israeli grown Cannabis has increased its price around 40%, but customers seem to be happy to pay the price for a higher quality drug if they know that: “their money is no longer going to places that shoot misiles at us”, explain Boaz Wachtel.

The understanding of the impact the legalization would have in the economy, could intensify the debate around cannabis use in conservative Israeli society.

Palestine

Meanwhile, Palestine’s authorities keep accusing Israel of introducing their young people to drug use. They said that this is a new Israeli strategy as their military attacks against Palestine population have not succeeded. Palestine’s authorities based their declarations on the fact that some operations last year resulted in 17 army officers being arrested and 800 kilos of illegal drug being seized.