By Abbas Al Lawati, published in Gulf News on 29th May 2008. To view original article click here
Dubai: A Jewish-Palestinian advocacy group held a thank-you rally outside the UAE’s representative office in New York on Tuesday over the country’s stand on not allowing a controversial Israeli businessman from opening a store in Dubai.
The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East (Adalah) gathered on Tuesday outside the UAE representative office in New York city to thank the UAE for not allowing Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev from opening his self titled diamond boutique in Dubai, and deliver a letter on behalf of Palestinian children.
Leviev’s companies are alleged to be involved in the construction of at least four major colonies in the West Bank, built on confiscated Palestinian land for the exclusive settlement of Jews.
“Our primary reason for going to the UAE consulate was to present them with the letter from [Palestinian] students [from villages where Leviev’s companies operate], and to thank the UAE for its decision to boycott Leviev,” said David Bloom, spokesperson for Adalah.
Adalah has been leading an international campaign against Leviev for his practices in Israeli colonies on the occupied West Bank.
Leviev diamonds had issued a press release announcing plans to open two boutiques in Dubai, prompting an outcry from Palestinian rights groups. A Gulf News report on April 30 however quoted Ali Ebrahim, Deputy Director General for Executive Affairs at the Department of Economic Development saying that no business of that name had been registered.
Leviev has since removed the Dubai stores from its website, but the boutique has told a number of Jewish and diamond magazines that it has not cancelled plans to open in the UAE. Dubai-based Levant Jewellery, owned by Leviev’s Palestinain-Moroccan agent Arif Bin Khadra continues to list the Dubai Leviev stores on its web site.
“We also wanted to express our concern that Leviev still intends to open his stores and sell diamonds in Dubai. We wanted to make sure [people were] aware that Arif Bin Khadra is selling Leviev’s diamonds in his Levant store at the al-Qasr hotel,” said Bloom.
Letter from the children of Jayyous to the UAE
Below are excerpts from the letter sent by the children of the Palestinian town of Jayyous to the UAE, handed to the UAE representative office in New York by Adalah:
“We, high school students of English in the Israeli-occupied West Bank village of Jayyous, declare our complete opposition to the Israeli businessman Mr. Lev Leviev who is destroying our olive groves that have sustained our village for centuries. Many of our families are not allowed permits by the Israeli occupying forces to work our own lands that Israel’s Wall is stealing for Mr. Leviev so he may expand his settlement “Zufim” onto our village’s farmlands.”
“We hope for all students to live in peace, justice, freedom and love. Every Leviev diamond boughtŠ pays for our oppression and dispossession. Give our proud village the chance to feed itself and grow again — boycott Mr. Lev Leviev, in Dubai and all over the world”