Archive for February 28th, 2014

Spain supports Palestine’s statehood ambitions

Oct. 6, 2011

PARIS, Oct. 6 (UPI) — Spain said it backed the Palestinian initiative for statehood following a nod from UNESCO, though the effort is still up against Israeli allies in Washington.

The 58-nation executive board of the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization gave its initial approval on a 40-to-4 vote with 14 abstentions for Palestinian membership. Full membership must be approved by the 193-nation General Conference.

The Palestinian government has observer status and ambitions for full membership at the United Nations are part of a statehood initiative launched by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the U.N. General Assembly last month.

The European Parliament, in a September resolution, said lawmakers viewed the Palestinian bid for statehood as legitimate.

The Spanish government was quoted by The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London as saying it “anticipates” that it would vote in favor of Palestinian ambitions “if the vote takes place and no common European position has been reached.”

France, which abstained from the UNESCO vote, said now wasn’t the time for Palestinian to embark on its own, saying two-track negotiations with Israel were favored instead. Israel, for its part, said membership at UNESCO wouldn’t do the Palestinians any good.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a statement, called the action at UNESCO “confusing.” Washington spoke out strongly against Palestinian statehood.

Source: United Press International (UPI).


Luxembourg announces boycott of 8 Israeli companies, including 5 Banks

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Luxembourg’s general pension fund (FDC) has decided to boycott five Israeli banks due to their illegal activities in West Bank settlements.

The Israeli website Walla reported that the state-affiliated pension fund of Luxembourg has decided to boycott all major banks in Israel.

The website pointed out that despite the small size of the state of Luxembourg in Europe; it constitutes a major hub in the world’s investment and finance.

The FDC’s website published an “exclusion list” of about 60 companies around the world describing their practices as unethical. Among these companies are eight Israeli institutions, including Israel’s major banks – Israel Discount Bank, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, Bank Leumi and First International Bank of Israel.

Two companies are also on the list; Elbit Systems Ltd and Africa Israel Investments Ltd, both based in Jerusalem.

The FDC explained this boycott on the grounds that these companies “support the construction of illegal settlements in occupied territories.”

The European boycott campaign against Israel has been on the rise urging Israel to look at ways to combat it. Israel has demanded European countries enact laws prohibiting the boycott of Israel in the future.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Canada puts sanctions on Syrian oil

Oct. 5, 2011

OTTAWA, Oct. 5 (UPI) — Sanctions imposed against Syria by the Canadian government prohibit economic activity related to the country’s oil sector, the foreign minister said.

Syria is facing near-universal condemnation for its crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar Assad. The United Nations estimates around 3,000 people were killed during the unrest, which began in mid-March.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird announced sanctions on Assad’s regime that put travel bans and asset freezes on members and supporters of the regime. Additional measures ban the import, purchase, acquisition, carrying or shipment of petroleum or petroleum-related products from Syria.

“The push for political change has claimed thousands of lives with no sign the violence is letting up,” Baird said in a statement. “We are committed to working with our international partners to pressure President Assad to step aside.”

Syria had exported crude oil to European countries. The 150,000 barrels of crude exported each day provided Damascus with around 30 percent of its revenue.

The U.N. Security Council was unable to pass a resolution against Syria because of vetoes from China and Russia. The United States said, because of the veto, it was “quite a sad day.”

Source: United Press International (UPI).