***image2***The decision of the Bahraini government in late September to give in to US pressure and end their longstanding boycott of Israel in order to secure free trade agreements with the US, has been slammed in the streets and in Parliament.
On October 7th, in the lead up to a parliamentary discussion on the decision, two demonstrations were held. Around 250 people protested outside the Abdulla bin Darwish Fakhro Mosque in East Riffa, while around 250 more took part in a similar rally at the Islamic Society Mosque in Muharraq. The demonstrations were spearheaded by Al Menbar National Islamic Society and attended by politicians, civic organisations and others.
MP Shaikh Mohammed said that Bahrain shouldn’t go against its principles for mere profit. “We need to continue to show our solidarity with the people of Palestine and not give in only for money.â âWe are here to send a message to Bahrain’s government and the leadership to tell them that we are extremely disappointed with this decision,” MP Salah Ali told the crowd while urging the people of Bahrain to refuse Israeli products no matter what their government decided.
However, following scenes of extreme outrage in the parliament during discussion of the government decision to lift the boycott, the parliament voted to reinstitute the boycott and to re-open Bahrainâs official Boycott Office. The boycott provisions have been strengthened with the MPs voting in favour of the government drafting a law banning Bahrain from dealing or cooperating with Israel, with four recommendations which include reinstating the 1963 law against normalising relations with Israel. They also requested a provision obliging Bahrain to respect Arab and Gulf Cooperation Council agreements regarding Israel.
The governments of some Arab and Muslim countries have been taking advantage of the Zionist propaganda efforts based on the myth of âdisengagementâ to ease the boycott and isolation of the Occupation in exchange for favourable treatment by the US. In addition to Bahrain, the Qatari government has also taken up the Zionist plot to urge the Arab countries to respond to the Gaza âdisengagementâ by starting talks with Israel, and even Saudi Arabia has taken up the chance to stop its secondary and tertiary boycott of Israel. The foreign ministers of the Occupation and Pakistan have held bi-lateral talks in Turkey â a move that has provoked furious protests within Pakistan.
For the Occupation, these would be crucial break-throughs in a period where the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions is steadily gaining support on a global level, including within the Western world. Yet, as the overhauling of the Bahraini governmentâs decision and the demonstrations in Pakistan have shown, neither the people nor the political forces in these countries are ready to give up their stands on boycott. Though Arab or Muslim elites might see common interests with the Zionist attempts to normalize relations, the Occupationâs intensive propaganda and pressure still can not claim any major success in reversing the trend towards a global isolation of Apartheid Israel.