Gulf News, 25/9/2005
Society vows to work for ban on Israeli goods
By Habib Toumi, Bureau chief
The Society for Resisting Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy yesterday pledged to step up pressure to rescind the official decision to lift the ban on Israeli goods in Bahrain.
"We have already contacted more than 50 NGOs in order to garner support for the movement against the official normalisation of ties with Israel," society head Mohammad Hassan Al Aradi said in a press statement.
"We will use a petition signed by the NGOs to issue on Monday a statement highlighting our position. Other measures that we are planning include calling for a Gulf people’s conference to resist normalisation," he said. The society will also meet officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the issue, Al Aradi said.
Islamist MP Adel Al Mawdah warned that the presence of Israeli goods in the local market was "a real normalisation with the Zionist enemy".
"We have been repeatedly told by officials that the free trade agreement [FTA] signed with the US did not include an article on allowing Israeli goods into Bahrain, but we see that the situation has changed now," Al Mouawda said.
Four political societies from the opposition said in a joint statement that the decision by the government to lift the ban on Israeli goods was an "intense humiliation" to Bahrainis and a "painful strike" against the Palestinians.
"The government has bent to the US pressure through the FTA which had been endorsed by the Council of Representatives," the societies which boycotted the 2002 legislative elections said.
The Council in July ratified the FTA signed by Bahrain and the US in September 2004, but the Congress has held it up until it finished considering the contested Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in July.
The Washington Times yesterday said that Bahrain was the next likely vote and that the House Ways and Means Committee planned its first hearing next week.