Wed, Oct 13, 2010 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Palestinian Attempt To Prevent OECD Conference In Jerusalem
The PLO’s international foreign relations department called on member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to boycott the organization’s conference scheduled for October 20-22, which will focus on the development of environmentally sustainable tourism.
According to the announcement, “holding the conference under such conditions means rewarding Israel and legitimizing the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem” and its “racist activities” “against the residents of the city and the Palestinian people” (Wafa News Agency, October 11, 2010).
Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on Wednesday that a Turkish delegation will not be in attendance at this year’s OECD conference, being held in Jerusalem later this month.
According to the report, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay spoke to reporters on Tuesday and confirmed that Turkey would not be sending representatives to Israel for the conference despite prior plans to the contrary.
Hurriyet described the move as Turkey’s first official boycott of Israel in the wake of the Mavi Marmara raid, in which nine Turkish activists were killed. [Jpost; Wed, Oct 13, 2010]
Israel’s Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov said earlier that Israel is aware that Palestinian officials had urged foreign delegates not to attend the conference.
“The Palestinians have been conducting this initiative over the last few months and we regret that there are countries that heed their demands,” Meseznikov said.
“The Palestinians, who insist they are a reliable negotiating partner, are continuing to cause us damage,” the Minister said. “We exerted intensive pressure via the ambassadors and decided to hold the conference despite certain countries’ decision not to send delegates.”
According to Meseznikov, the conference was never meant to be held in east Jerusalem though it was initially scheduled to include a professional tour of the Old City, but due to demands by OECD officials, it was decided to limit the events to the western part of the city.
So far 15 delegations have confirmed their arrival to the conference, which will be held over three days starting October 20. The conference will deal with “green growth,” as derived from the OECD program to develop and promote a green policy as a means to economic growth. The conference will discuss the tourism aspects of the program and the ways in which tourism can contribute both in developing the green tourism product, the ecological effects on tourism, identifying green business opportunities and more. After the conference, participants will tour the country and visit various tourism sites. [Jpost; Wed, Oct 06, 2010]