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Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama bows, Abdullah boycotts: Arab boycott up 76%

Remember President Obama's bow to Saudi King Abdullah? It sure accomplished a lot, didn't it?

Obama has been trying unsuccessfully to get the Saudis to make some confidence building gestures toward Israel so that the Jewish state can be convinced that the Arabs really mean to make peace with it and not to destroy it.

Michael Freund reports that the Saudis have been trying to tighten the Arab boycott of Israel for the last two years. And while it's too early for numbers from 2009, if the Saudis are continuing in the same direction as 2007 and 2008, President Obama has his work cut out for him.
A review of US Commerce Department data conducted by the Post found that the number of boycott-related and restrictive trade-practice requests received by American companies from Saudi Arabia has increased in each of the past two years, rising from 42 in 2006 to 65 in 2007 to 74 in 2008, signifying a jump of more than 76 percent.

The bulk of these requests were related to the companies' or products' relationship to Israel. Typically, Saudi officials ask foreign suppliers to affirm that any goods exported to the desert kingdom are not manufactured in Israel and do not contain any Israeli-made components.

US law bars American companies from complying with such demands, and requires them to report any boycott-related requests to the federal government.

The Commerce Department figures reflect only those requests that have been officially reported to the US government. Figures for 2009 were not yet available.

Contacted by the Post, a US Treasury Department official confirmed that there was ample evidence that the Saudis continued to enforce the boycott.
And while the 2009 numbers are not in yet, the United States Commerce Department seems to know what they will show:
Two months ago, the Treasury Department published a list of eight Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, that it says continue to boycott Israel. The list appeared in the Federal Register, the official journal of the US government.
The Saudis agreed to abandon the boycott in return for being allowed to join the World Trade Organization in December 2005. They never carried out that agreement, but they are now a member of the WTO.

The reality is that - the so-called 'Saudi plan' notwithstanding - the Saudis and many other Arab and Muslim countries will never accept Israel as a Jewish state in this region regardless of whether there is eventually a peace agreement, a prospect which appears as unlikely as ever. Ignoring that reality isn't going to help.

Read the whole thing.


At 9:41 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Shy Guy, given Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal's view published in the New York Times over the weekend, peace is definitely far away. No Arab country, let alone the Palestinians are ready to accept a Jewish State. What we're seeing happening is the Arab boycott of Israel being institutionalized on the global level.


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