After several nations announced that they will likely boycott this month’s planned bi-annual tourism conference of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Secretary-General of the OECD wrote a harshly worded letter to the Israeli Prime Minister which hinted at the possibility of relocating the conference.The letter came after the Israeli Tourism Minister publicly stated that the OECD’s meeting in Jerusalem showed that the group supported Israel’s territorial claim over the disputed city.
‘In order to go forward with the meeting on the current basis, the tourism minister should correct the misperception created and put the meeting in its proper perspective,’ wrote OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria to Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Gurria added that the selection of Jerusalem for the conference was not in any way meant to support Israel’s territorial claim over the city.
Britain and Spain have already announced that they will boycott the meeting due to the choice of location, and the Palestine Liberation Organization has called on all member states to boycott the meeting if it is held in Jerusalem.
The OECD is a 33-nation member organization meant to direct international economic policy and development funding.
Israel joined the OECD in May 2010, and included economic figures from the West Bank in its application, despite the fact that the West Bank is an occupied territory and its Palestinian population lives under Israeli martial law with no benefit from economic aid given to Israel.
The United Nations has passed numerous resolutions calling on Israel to remove the illegal settlements and Wall it has constructed on illegally seized Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since Israel’s military takeover of these areas in 1967.