Arabs Call For Revival of Boycott Against Israel
Representatives from 19 Arab countries met in Syria for the 72nd conference of the Arab League’s Bureau for Boycotting Israel to discuss tightening the Arab boycott against Israel. The four-day meeting, which opened April 26, 2004, in Damascus, will consider blacklisting new companies that do business with the Jewish state.
Mohammed al-Ajami, who heads the Syrian regional office of the Central Boycott Office, said the meeting was aimed at implementing Arab summit resolutions that approved reviving the Arab boycott of Israel. He said it was “a direct and practical response to the policy of the criminal escalation adopted by Israel.”
The Commissioner General of the Islamic Office, Salem al-Ojeili and Hawni, stressed the necessity for commitment to the laws and principles of Arab and Islamic boycott of Israel as a positive and active means to force Israel to commit itself to the international legitimacy resolutions.
Ahmed Khazaa, commissioner general of the Damascus-based Central Boycott Office, said the importance of the boycott is that it can isolate Israel economically, citing studies that estimate Israel loses $3 billion annually due to the boycott.
Ali Abo al-Hawa, the head of the Palestinian delegation, asked the conference to respond to the Arab masses’ calls for boycotting relations with Israel, particularly the commercial relations.
A new item that was originally on the agenda was how to stop Israeli companies from trying to penetrate the Iraqi market. But Sabah al-Imam, head of the Iraqi delegation, asked that the subject be removed, saying, "There is no Israeli activity in Iraq" approved by Iraqi authorities.
The boycott office once listed more than 8,500 companies and people, including Coca-Cola and Ford Motor Co., but the boycott's influence waned as Egypt and Jordan made peace with Israel, the Palestinians embarked on a now faltering peace process, and several Gulf states started ignoring the blacklist.
Source: AP, SANA (April 26, 2004)