Arab states consider new Israel boycott
Monday 31 March 1997
The ministers voted unanimously in support of the cessation of moves towards normalisation, the closure of Israeli offices and missions and withdrawal from multilateral Middle East talks.
The resolution, proposed at the second session of a regular six-monthly meeting at Arab League headquarters, follows Israel's decision to go ahead with a Jewish settlement in Arab East Jerusalem, a step which angered Palestinians already unhappy with Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government. Under normal procedure, the proposals will now have to go to Arab heads of state.
The final text of the resolution was not immediately available. But asked if the boycott was in the text, the Syrian Foreign Minister, Farouq al- Shara said: "Yes, yes, clearly ... It is clearer and stronger and it has been adopted unanimously."
Syria has long argued that isolating Israel was the best way to deal with Mr Netanyahu. Some Arab states had abandoned the first-degree boycott, which banned direct commercial dealings with Israeli companies, in the last three years.
However, Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's foreign affairs department, said the ministers had not discussed countries which have signed full peace treaties with Israel - that is Egypt and Jordan. Israel could interpret breaking relations as a violation of those treaties.
He added that they would now aim to get the backing of heads of state and ensure that the resolutions had a political impact on "the intransigent side [Israel]." One Arab official said earlier that unnamed Arab states had reservations about the resolutions but Kaddoumi said this was not the case. "The resolutions were unanimous," he said.
Israel branded the Arab League resolution as absurd. Foreign ministry spokesman Ygal Palmor said: "Normal neighbourly relations and regional cooperation are supposed to be an asset and a common interest for all countries in this region. It is absurd that they are being deemed as a whip, so to speak, to be used against Israel whenever there is a crisis in the peace process."
The government of Mr Netanyahu has angered all Israel's neighbours but the final straw was the decision to go ahead with the Jewish settlement project in Jabal Abu Ghneim, a part of East Jerusalem known to Jews as Har Homa.
Palestinians see Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The Israelis captured it in 1967, and have been trying to change the demographic balance in favour of the Jewish community.
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Michael Brown shooting: Driver smashes into crowd as protests erupt across the US during a second night of unrest
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...
£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...