Bahraini MPs call to re-open Israeli Boycott Office
Bahraini MPs on Tuesday voted for new laws banning any ties with Israel. They also demanded the re-opening of the Israeli Boycott Office, to block imports of Israeli goods.
According to the GDN, there were outbursts during the session, despite assurances by Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa that there was no move to normalise relations with Israel.
Shaikh Khalid was summoned to parliament after 15 MPs signed a demand that the government explain the closure of the boycott office.
All the MPs present backed a demand that the government draft a law banning Bahraini firms from dealing and co-operating with Israel.
The MPs called on the Cabinet to reactivate the 1963 law against normalisation of relations with Israel and the re-opening of the boycott office. MPs also demanded a clear obligation from Bahraini authorities to respect Arab and GCC agreements in relation to Israel.
The debate on Israel came after Bahrain negotiated a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, which calls for lifting all forms of boycotts. Speaking to MPs, Shaikh Khalid said the closure of the boycott office was key to securing the FTA. "The issue about the office's role was raised by the US Congress and we had to act accordingly, or else the government would lose the agreement," he said.
"The boycott will continue with or without the office, through the sincerity and devotion of the people."