An umbrella organization of 13 Jordanian opposition groups has reaffirmed their rejection to U.S.-Israeli economic projects in the region, claiming they will destroy Arab identity, leaving it just an empty shell.
The opposition is particularly opposed to the 'new' Middle East concept, in which Arabs and Israelis work together to create a single marketplace. Such an arrangement threatens Arab economic security, a-Sharq al-Awsat daily reports.
Instead, the organization are urging the Arab states to accelerate their efforts to establish the Arab common market in order to block the Middle Eastern common market initiative. In its recent declaration, the opposition warned the Arabs from joint ventures as they aim to attain economic and cultural hegemony and to empty the Arab identity from its substance.
In parallel to their declaration, Israel published 1999 figures for its foreign trade with Arab states, which revealed reduced but continued activity. According to these figures, Israeli exports to Arab states declined by 6.1 percent to $101 million. Imports, however, exploded by nearly 33 percent to $48 million. The figures showed that Israeli exports to UAE dropped by 47 percent to $735,000, and to Saudi Arabia dropped by 31 percent to hit $854,000.
In North Africa, Israeli exports to Tunisia expanded to $2.5 million. (Most of these exports consisted of plastic products and machinery). Israeli exports to Morocco declined by nearly 33 percent compared with 1998, totaling $7.1 million.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)