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Indian port union boycotts Israeli ships, cargo

July 9, 2010 2:04 P.M. (Updated: July 10, 2010 10:19 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The trade unions at India's Cochin Port have reached an understanding amongst themselves to boycott Israeli ships and cargo in protest of the siege of Gaza, Indian media reported this week.

The boycott began on 17 June on receipt of information that cargo unloaded at Colombo Port from an Israeli ship was bound to arrive at Cochin Port in a feeder vessel, the weekly organ of the Communist Party of India reported.

On June 23, trade unions held a joint protest rally in Cochin Port near the office of Zim Integrated Shipping Services Pvt Ltd – the Israeli shipping line. Addressing the rally, B Hamza, general-secretary of Cochin Port Labour Union, condemned Israel's raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza on 31 May that left nine dead. He expressed the solidarity of workers at Cochin Port to the people of Palestine.

Representatives of various unions participating in the boycott also addressed the rally and declared that the workers of Cochin Port stood united with worldwide boycott by workers of Sweden, Great Britain, South Africa and other countries, according to the report in the People's Democracy publication.

"Considering that there has been such a cross party consensus for a blockade of Israeli goods in Cochin, this is a great precedent to move from this to the other Indian ports and this would not only create a national movement in the unions but as well really target Israeli access to India as a market," Muhammad Jaradat, co-founder of the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, told Ma'an.
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