PLO calls for boycott of OECD Jerusalem summit 12Oct10 October 13, 2010

Ma’an News Agency -  12 October 2010

The PLO has called on member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development to boycott a summit on sustainable tourism which will be held in West Jerusalem in mid-October, a statement issued Tuesday read.

The PLO said convening the summit in West Jerusalem “under current conditions is a reward to Israel and grants legitimacy to the Israeli occupation of the city [East Jerusalem] and all its racist and oppressive measures against Palestinians in Jerusalem.”

The OECD will hold its biannual conference between 20 and 22 October in West Jerusalem in a district that lies close to several illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. The move has been perceived by some in the Israeli government as a sign of international approval for Israel’s illegal annexation of the city.

The statement praised Spain, the UK and Turkey for refusing to send delegates to the conference, but Britain has said the move was not related to Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The PLO further called on Angel GurrĂ­a, the secretary-general of the group, to cancel the summit “because it violates international resolutions that consider East Jerusalem an occupied city.”

The summit’s convening in Jerusalem marks the second time in 62 years that the OECD has held its biannual conference outside of Paris.

Palestinians have questioned GurrĂ­a’s decision to convene the summit in Jerusalem despite UN resolutions calling on member states not to recognize the occupation and illegal annexation of East Jerusalem.

Britain and Spain have announced that they will not participate, although the UK insists its decision is unrelated to the controversy.

Fatah movement said Wednesday that it welcomed the two countries’ decisions and called on other states to follow suit.

Attending the summit, Fatah said in a statement, would reward Israel “while the Israeli occupation is blocking any chance of viable and independent Palestinian tourism.”

Israel was unanimously voted in to the OECD in May 2010 and included figures from West Bank settlements in its membership application. It ranks in third last place among members and has the highest rate of poverty.

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