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ISRAEL

Swedish consumer group urges Israel boycott

A consumer organization in western Sweden with some 350,000 members has called on the country's Coop supermarkets to stop selling all goods from Israel.

Three resolutions urging a ban on Israeli products were approved by a majority of the 425 members in attendance at Saturday’s annual meeting in Gothenburg of the consumer cooperative society for western Sweden, Konsumentföreningen Väst (KF Väst). The resolutions cited Israel’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as grounds for a boycott.

“The board will now push the issue of a boycott to the other Swedish consumer cooperatives,” said chairperson Carina Malmer in a statement.

KF Väst is one of the largest of the 47 consumer cooperative societies that make up the Swedish Cooperative Union, which has more than 3 million members.

The Swedish Cooperative Union owns the Coop chain of supermarkets. According to the union’s own figures, the retail consumer cooperative societies and Coop together account for 21.4 percent of the grocery retail sector in Sweden.

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ISRAEL

Israel intercepts Swedish Gaza-bound activist boat

The Israeli navy intercepted a Swedish-flagged activist boat bent on breaching its more than decade-long blockade of Gaza, the second in less than a week, the military said on Saturday.

Israel intercepts Swedish Gaza-bound activist boat
Photo: TT

“The ship was monitored and was intercepted in accordance with international law,” the military said in a statement, before the vessel, named Freedom for Gaza and carrying 12 people, was taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

“The (military) clarified to the ship’s passengers that they are violating the legal naval blockade and that any humanitarian merchandise can be transferred to Gaza through the Port of Ashdod,” the statement said.

The people on board were taken for “further inquiry.”

The organisers of the flotilla said the boat, which was carrying medical supplies, was intercepted in international waters.

“The demands of Ship to Gaza are that the ship with its crew and cargo will be returned to the site of the boarding, and that they will be allowed to go in peace through international and Palestinian waters in accordance to international law,” they said in a statement.

“This is a demand that the eleven years-long illegal and destructive blockade on Gaza will be lifted at last.”

Freedom was the second boat of the “Freedom Flotilla” to be intercepted en route to “break the blockade” on Gaza, organisers said.

Four boats left from Scandinavia in mid-May and stopped in some 28 ports along the way, with two remaining behind after a recent stop in the Italian port of Palermo.

On Sunday, the Israeli navy intercepted a Norwegian-flagged activist boat that was part of the flotilla.

Israel has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in Gaza since 2008 and says the blockade is necessary to keep them from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used for military purposes.

UN officials have called for the blockade to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas where 80 percent of the two million population are dependent on aid.

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