Swedish Dockworkers Boycott Israeli Ships
By Asociated Press
24 June, 2010
Some 1,5000 members of Swedish Port Workers Union impose boycott in all country's ports which handle 95% of foreign trade to protest Israel's raid on Gaza-bound flotilla, which included several Swedish nationals
Swedish dockworkers launched a weeklong boycott of Israeli ships and cargo on Wednesday to protest Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists last month.
Some 1,500 members of the Swedish Port Workers Union began the boycott at all Sweden's ports which handle more than 95% of the country's foreign trade. The action is planned to end on June 29.
"Even if goods arrive in trucks, dockworkers often have some role in handling them when they arrive in port," said Per Helgesson, the union's chief negotiator.
The union supported the international aid convoy and demands that Israel lift its blockade on Gaza. Several Swedish activists were on the flotilla when Israeli commandos attacked it on May 31.
Israel recently eased the 3-year-old blockade under international pressure, but union spokesman Bjorn Borg said the measure was insufficient.
"We don't think it is far-reaching enough," Borg said. "We want them to lift the blockade."
Borg said stevedores in the southwestern port of Goteborg had already refused to handle about a dozen containers containing cargo from Israel or goods destined for it.
Officials said they expected the boycott to have a minimal impact on Swedish-Israeli trade, which accounts for 0.2% of the Nordic country's total imports and exports.
Last year, Swedish exports to Israel were valued at 2.5 billion kronor ($320 million) and imports amounted to some 850 million kronor, according to the Swedish Trade Council.