[Marxism] Fwd: Brazilian Parliamentarians: 'Freeze Israel - Mercosur Free Trade Pact'

Fred Fuentes fred.fuentes at gmail.com
Mon Oct 5 13:57:21 MDT 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kimball Cariou <pvoice at telus.net>
Date: Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 3:25 PM
Subject: [pr-x] Brazilian Parliamentarians: 'Freeze Israel - Mercosur
Free Trade Pact'
To: "RTL, project-x: it's ALL THE SAME" <project-x at lists.resist.ca>,
COAL OF COAL <coalofcoal-l at vancouvercommunity.net>

Brazilian Parliamentarians: 'Freeze Israel - Mercosur Free Trade Pact'

>From Palestine Monitor

The Brazilian Parliamentary Commission on Foreign Relations and
National Defense has recommended that the parliament should not ratify
the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Mercosur and the State of
Israel until "Israel accepts the creation of the Palestinian state on
the 1967 borders". This decision is an explicit act of pressure on
Israel to comply with international law, and a rejection of years of
incessant Israeli lobbying, pressuring for a vote to ratify the

This decision is an enormous blow for Israel's economy and foreign
relations. It poses a massive stumbling block for the enactment of the
agreement, which since its signing in 2007, has been stalled due to a
lack of ratification by Mercosur member countries. The Mercosur is one
of the world's most quickly expanding markets and the fifth largest
economy in the world. Israeli exports to the Mercosur amounted nearly
600 million dollars in 2006.

Israel has invested heavily in pushing for the agreement, focusing
particularly on Brazil, the Mercosur's largest economy and most
powerful political player. Brazil alone, even without an FTA, is
Israel's third largest export destination. In 2005, Ehud Olmert, the
trade minister at the time, visited Brazil to get President Lula's
support for the agreement. A little over a month ago, Israeli minister
of foreign affairs, Avigdor Liberman traveled to Brazil to urge the
ratification of the agreement.

Since the beginning of the negotiations of the FTA, Mercosur civil
society summits have rejected the trade deal. On behalf of the
Palestinian National BDS Committee (BNC), the Palestinian Grassroots
Anti- Apartheid Wall Campaign has worked together with Brazilian
intellectuals, social movements, parties and politicians to block the
ratification of the FTA. The Front for the Defense of the Palestinian
people and the Parliamentary Front against the ratification of the FTA
were formed to back the Palestinian call against the FTA. In January a
letter by the BNC was handed over to President Lula.

As a result, the Commission agreed to listen to a public hearing
before the voting process yesterday.

Oscar Daniel Jadue, vice-president of the Palestinian Federation of
Chile, intervened and called for the rejection of the bill. He argued
that the ratification of the agreement is a violation of international
law, to the benefit of a country that does not respect the human
rights of Palestinians.

"I invite reflection on what would reward the government of Israel and
opens of the Latin American market to a country that annihilates the
Palestinian people", said Jadue.

Arlene Clemesha, professor of Arab History at the University of Sao
Paulo (USP) and part of the United Nations Coordinating Network on
Palestine, argued against the tokenism of ratifying the agreement with
the exclusion of settlement products, warning that it is impossible to
separate the two as Israel has a history of marketing settlement
products as Israeli ones. Instead, she said, the path to peace
requires international forces to compel Israel to end the military
occupation of Palestinian territory.

The members of the parliamentary commission agreed with Clemesha and
Jadue and recommended the freezing of the agreement as a means of
political pressure.

"It will be a small contribution, but be specific. The agreement can
only be valid if approved by the Mercosur countries. As Uruguay has
already approved, we will work with Argentina and Paraguay. The Lula
government has been courageous and it has to say publicly that the
agreement is frozen until the resumption of peace negotiations", said
Mr Nilson Mourao (PT-AC).

Jamal Juma', coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid
Wall Campaign comments:

"After years of campaigning, we are extremely happy with this
decision. It is a major victory that has been made possible only by
large and determined civil society support in Brazil.

This decision has shown that Latin America's democratic governments
are allies for justice and are ready to take up a principled stand on
Palestine, even when under Israeli pressure. Lieberman's delegation
tried to lure Brazil with the illusion they could become `mediators'
in the region if they would proof `impartial' and backed Israeli
interests with the FTA. However, Brazilian politicians did not fall
into the trap.

We now ask the PLO and the Palestinian National Authority to ensure
that the `No' to the FTA will be a priority for their regional foreign

The struggle against the FTA is not over yet; the project will still
be analyzed by the commissions on Economic Development and Trade and
Industry, and the parliament. It will then head to the senate.
However, yesterday's decision is unlikely to be reversed and has
turned the ratification process of the FTA by Brazil and other
Mercosur into an effective instrument of pressure on Israel.

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