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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
MP seeks Israeli boycott
Israeli tanks
Israel has launched a major military offensive
Labour's George Galloway has renewed his call for people living in Scotland to boycott goods from Israel in response to violence in the Middle East.

The Glasgow Kelvin MP said shoppers should be checking the origin of their groceries and taking a stand.

Mr Galloway planned to lead a lobby to Number 10 Downing Street on Thursday to demand that Britain ends its arms sales to Israel.

George Galloway
George Galloway wants a Commons debate
UK Government ministers have come under pressure over Britain's continued trade with Israel as its military forces extend operations into Palestinian territory.

On Wednesday, when the Westminster Parliament was recalled to pay tribute to the Queen Mother, a number of MPs called for a debate on the Middle East crisis.

However, they were unsuccessful and must now wait until parliament reconvenes next week.

Already 71 MPs have signed a Commons motion calling for a suspension of trade with Israel.

Against that background Mr Galloway has renewed his plea to the Scottish public to boycott goods and fresh produce which have an Israeli stamp of origin on them.

'Special duty'

He said the public should be on the lookout for products like some oranges, avocados and vegetables.

He told BBC Scotland: "We have a special duty to come to the aid of the Palestinian people and every person can do it by personally making purchasing decisions which hurt the ability of the Israeli economy to function normally."

However, his call was declared unjustified by Ezra Golombok, of the Israeli Information Office in Scotland.

He said: "He's talking about a boycott - a boycott of what - oranges? This is the wrong season.

Ezra Golombok
Ezra Golombok: Unjustified appeal
"Is he going to suggest that we boycott Israeli medical equipment which is very important in many Scottish hospitals?

"If someone is ill are we going to refuse to use medical scanning equipment which is made in Israel?

"No, let him be realistic."

The renewed call came as Israel tightened its grip on the West Bank.

Soldiers laid siege to the Church of the Nativity and were involved in a fierce gun battle with Palestinian fighters.

The US envoy to the region, Anthony Zinni, was due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday afternoon.

He was expected to ask Mr Sharon to allow him to meet Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters.

Mr Sharon has already said he will not allow a European Union delegation made up of EU policy chief Javier Solana and Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique to break the total isolation Israel is imposing on the Palestinian leader.

David Henderson reports
"Mr Galloway wants a boycott of Israeli goods"
See also:

04 Apr 02 | Middle East
Shooting erupts near Bethlehem church
03 Apr 02 | Middle East
Israel besieges Bethlehem church
14 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Galloway warns of 'revolution'
04 Mar 02 | UK Politics
MP wants Iraq 'threat' published
06 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Iraq prompts MP shouting match
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