Friday, 5 June 2015

Orange's pullout threat from Israel gives lift to boycott movement


JERUSALEM (AP) — French telecom giant Orange SA's declaration that it wants to cut business ties with Israel has given a boost to the burgeoning anti-Israel boycott movement while also drawing a sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

Netanyahu responded angrily on Thursday, calling on "the French government to publicly repudiate the miserable statement and miserable action by a company that is under its partial ownership."

The remarks came a day after Orange's chief executive Stephane Richard said he would end his company's relationship with Partner Communications Ltd. "tomorrow" if he could, but that he was bound by a contract for the time being. He cited the company's sensitivity to Arab countries. Partner licenses the Orange brand name in Israel.

Richard's announcement caused uproar in Israel.

"The absurd drama in which the democracy that observes human rights — the state of Israel — and which defends itself from barrages of missiles and terrorist tunnels, and then absorbs automatic condemnations and attempted boycotts, this absurd drama will not be forgiven," Netanyahu also said.

Pro-Palestinian activists in France have been pushing for Orange to end the relationship over Partner's activities in Israeli settlements. The settlements, built on land the Palestinians want for a future state, are seen as illegitimate by the international community. more

Israeli forces release 5 detained fishermen in Gaza


Israeli forces on Thursday evening released five Palestinian fishermen who were detained near al-Sudaniya beach in the northern Gaza Strip the same morning.

Secretary general of the fishermen union Amjad al-Sharafi told Ma'an that Israeli forces released the five fishermen from the Baker family who were detained earlier.

Also Thursday, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza said that Israeli forces arrested 60 Palestinian fishermen and seized or destroyed 30 fishing boats since the start of the ceasefire last August.

The general director of the union Sami al-Asmi said in a statement that Israeli forces seized 77 boats in the last four years, returned 14 of them and destroyed five. They also killed fisherman Sayed Abu Riyala while he was working last March. He added that among the 60 fishermen arrested, three remain in Israeli custody for the possession of fiberglass, which used to be legal but now isn't according to Israeli regulations. more