Detractors of Israel often seek to punish their enemy by demanding a trade boycott with Jerusalem. 2008 has seen several such calls from EU, Norwegians and UK Parliamentarians, to name but a few.
Here’s the catch. If such calls were to be heeded, they would hurt some of the poorer Arab and Muslim countries.
- On Monday 27th October, 160 Israeli and Jordanian businessmen participated in the fifth annual conference of the Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce. Those in attendance Mr. Omar El-Atoum, Economic Officer of the embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Israel. Israeli-Jordanian trade currently stands at over 300 million dollars. (Remember – in 1994, before the peace treaty, the figure was effectively zero). Jordanian exports to Israeli reached 54.2 million dollars, representing a 42% increase over the same period (Mainly chemical industrial products and agricultural produce). For an economy of Jordan’s size, that is a significant amount of revenue.
- Also this week, there was final approval to establish a Palestinian – Israel Chamber of Commerce. The Peres Ceter for Peace and the UK’s Portland Trust have been prime movers here. This must be seen as a primary step to promote deeper understanding and cooperation, which will match the heights of trade between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom.
- On Wednesday, Israel’s ambulance service, MDA, signed what amounts to a joint-venture agreement with Indonesia’s Muhammadiyah organization. Cooperation between MDA and the Indonesian rescue and emergency organization began approximately one year ago, with the arrival of a delegation of Indonesian health and community organization officials for an MDA course in Israel.
And the list goes on. It is worth listening to the words of some of the senior partners of Salens, an international legal outfit located in 19 countries. The company recently sponsored an event at the Israel – Britain Chamber of Commerce. They believe that the way out of the global recession will be found through emerging economies.
Clearly, Israel’s strong economy has an important part to play in this game. It is essential that its ability is used to the full and for the benefit of all.