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Gulf Daily News | March 30, 2008

New drive to reopen Israel boycott office

A PROTEST group pushing for the re-opening of the Israel Boycott Office in Bahrain is hosting a major conference next month to highlight its cause.

It claims that as a result of the office being closed, Israeli produce is now finding its way into the Bahrain market.

The group also accused the US military of bringing in Israeli goods to be consumed at its naval base in Bahrain.

However, a spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet would neither confirm nor deny the allegation.

"The US receives goods both directly and indirectly for consumption from a variety of companies throughout the world," he told the GDN.

"Produce activity happens at a variety of levels and is purchased from a variety of vendors and sub-vendors."

The Bahrain Society Against Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy is behind next month's event, which is expected to bring together MPs and young activists to highlight issues relating to the office's closure.

Society secretary-general Abdulla Abdulmalik claimed proper procedures were not followed when the office was shut and accused the Bahrain government of bowing to US pressure.

"We are trying to re-open the office because this office was established under legal rules and regulations," he told the GDN.

"It was closed based on one decision, which was not made by the Bahraini people. I must add that it was the US government's decision.

"Our government did not go through proper channels to close the office, which it did to secure the Free Trade Agreement with the US."

He says the event will explain to the public why the office was closed, while at the same time highlighting atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.

"Arab governments used to denounce the Israeli government and its actions, but now they aren't even doing that," he said.

"It's like all the killings and murders are just a routine and we all have to get used to it."

Mr Abdulmalik said closing the boycott office was a dangerous first step on the road to opening diplomatic ties.

"Israeli products won't rush into the country as soon as the office is shut, but closing it is the first step in building Zionist trade and diplomatic relations and soon we'll see Israelis living among us," he added.

"The Bahraini public is trying its best to fight this Zionist cancer, but our weak Arab governments are caving in to America's requests and agreeing to its every demand."

Posted on 30-03-2008

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