Swedish ports boycott ships going to and from Israel

Swedish ports boycott ships going to and from Israel

STOCKHOLM,– The Swedish dockworkers union announced on Wednesday that it will boycott shipments destined for or coming from Israel for one week, in protest against the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla last month.

The AFP quoted union spokesman Rolf Axelson as saying that the union has decided to boycott Israeli ships because of the Zionist attack on one of the Freedom Flotilla ships that the union supported before it set sail.

He added, “Port workers have decided to carry out protests in all Swedish ports covered by the union until midnight, June 29.”

Swedish union members described the incident as “an unprecedented attack on a convoy of peaceful ships.”

Union head, Bj?rn Borg, said that the union has called for an international investigation into the May 31 attack which led to the death of nine Turkish nationals. He added that dockworkers believe the easing of the blockade on Gaza announced by Israel on Sunday is insufficient.

It is difficult to assess the volume of goods that will be affected by the boycott, because there are few ships that travel in direct routes between Israel and Sweden.

Nevertheless, Gothenburg is the largest port in Scandinavia, handling more than 800,000 containers and 150,000 new cars every year.

The three government-owned companies in Sweden which operate the port agreed not to interfere with the boycott.

The Swedish port workers have a history of taking action through boycotting. They prevented goods from crossing during the reign of General Pinochet in Chile and the rule of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Erik Helgeson, ombudsman at the Swedish Dockworkers Union, said, “The main objective is to continue to put pressure on Israel so the world does not divert its attention.”

He expressed hope that other ports will take similar measures, so that attention becomes focused on the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. Port workers in Gothenburg pointed out that ports in Norway and South Africa have taken similar action.