Kuwait bans shipping with Israel

Kuwait has reaffirmed its hard-line stance against Israel. It has announced that it would ban ships sailing between the two countries or carrying cargo bound for Israel. Meanwhile, DP World confirmed that it had withdrawn from the bidding for the privatization of operations in the Port of Haifa.

While the UAE and Bahrain have made tentative moves towards normalizing relations with Israel, Kuwait has been a consistent hardliner. It has said publicly that it would be the last to normalize any form of relations with the Jewish state.

Last week Kuwaiti government representatives at the United Nations spoke out strongly in favour of Palestinian causes. This was followed on Saturday, December 5th with the decree against shipping, announced by Kuwait’s Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology.

The move does not depart from past policies of the Kuwaiti government, but the reaffirmation of the commitment, and its depth, came as something of a surprise.

In addition to any direct movement of cargo, Kuwait has said it would deny permits for ships trading between the two countries, and also to any vessel even coming from others ports carrying Israeli goods or with goods directly or indirectly bound to Israel. The ban comes into immediate effect.

Israel has also confirmed that DP World had requested to withdraw from its joint bid with an Israeli company for the privatization of the Port of Haifa. The agreement between DP World and the entrepreneur that owns the Israel Shipyards had been hailed as one of the first tangible signs of progress after the agreement to normalize relations between the UAE and Israel. DP World has not commented on the reasons for withdrawing