Israel Accuses Olive Council of Blocking Access to Key Meeting, Sources Say

After its proxy representative was refused entrance to a Council of Members meeting, Israel said in a written complaint that it would not accept any of the decisions made in the session.

IOC headquarters, Madrid (Google)
Jul. 26, 2019
By Daniel Dawson
IOC headquarters, Madrid (Google)

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Israel’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the International Olive Council (IOC) has for­mally accused the United Nations-sanc­tioned orga­ni­za­tion of block­ing its proxy rep­re­sen­ta­tive from attend­ing last mon­th’s Council of Members meet­ing in Morocco.
See Also:Documents Detail Exclusion of Israeli Rep at Olive Council Meeting

Adi Naali, the head of Israel’s del­e­ga­tion to the IOC, was unable to attend the meet­ing and instead named Ignazio Castellucci, an adjunct pro­fes­sor of law at the University of Teramo in Italy, as his replace­ment.

On June 21, at the start of the Council of Members meet­ing, Naali alleges that Castellucci was repeat­edly denied access to the meet­ing. At the time, Castellucci was told that he did not have the proper cre­den­tials.

According to doc­u­ments obtained by Olive Oil Times, Naali was told by the IOC’s cre­den­tials com­mit­tee, which pro­vides accred­i­ta­tion to each mem­ber country’s del­e­gates for the Council of Members meet­ing, that they had received his email nam­ing Castellucci as his replace­ment, but Naali was not the appro­pri­ate author­ity to name a replace­ment and accred­i­ta­tion from Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was required.

See Also:IOC News

Naali dis­putes the claim that he was not the appro­pri­ate author­ity to name a replace­ment, cit­ing a 2013 instance in which he was also unable to attend the Council of Members meet­ing and suc­cess­fully named the Turkish del­e­gate as his proxy.

In an email dated May 24, 2013, which was included in the doc­u­ments, Naadi wrote to the Executive Secretariat stat­ing that, Israel would like to autho­rize the del­e­gate of Turkey to rep­re­sent its inter­ests at the close of the 100th ses­sion.”


A press release dated one day later stated that Israel autho­rized the Turkish del­e­gate to rep­re­sent its inter­ests at the IOC Council of Members meet­ing. There appears to have been no prob­lem with the Turkish del­e­gate attend­ing the meet­ing as a proxy for Israel.

The doc­u­ments also con­tain an email dated June 20 that appears to have an offi­cial let­ter­head from the Israeli gov­ern­ment. Yakov Poleg, the deputy direc­tor of the Foreign Trade Center at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, wrote to Abdellatif Ghedira, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the IOC, autho­riz­ing Castellucci to replace Naali at the Council of Members meet­ing.

The email was for­warded to the address used by the IOC Executive Secretariat by Naali the fol­low­ing day after Castellucci had allegedly been pre­vented from enter­ing the meet­ing. In spite of send­ing the email at 9:37 AM local time in Morocco (11:37 AM in Israel), Castellucci did not receive accred­i­ta­tion and did not attend the meet­ing.

In spite of Israel’s absence, an IOC lead­er­ship vote went ahead at the meet­ing where Ghedira, Deputy Director Jaime Lillo, Mustafa Sepetçi, and the tech­ni­cal, eco­nomic and pro­mo­tional units all received new man­dates run­ning through 2023.

It is unclear whether this out­come would have changed if Israel’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive had been present and there is no evi­dence that any of the IOC’s rules were bro­ken by going ahead with the lead­er­ship vote.

The doc­u­ments obtained from a cred­i­ble source by Olive Oil Times con­tain a let­ter from Naali to the IOC Chair and Heads of Delegation from IOC Members; two emails sent from Naali to the IOC Secretariat; a press release stat­ing that the del­e­gate from Turkey would rep­re­sent Israel’s inter­ests at the 2013 Council of Members meet­ing; and a detailed chronol­ogy of the events that took place on June 21 in the run-up to the IOC Council of Members meet­ing.

Questions remain and Olive Oil Times is in the process of fol­low­ing up to con­firm cer­tain details on the events that occurred at the June 21 meet­ing.

By the time of pub­li­ca­tion, the IOC, Naali and Castellucci had not responded to requests for com­ment. When they do, their responses will be included in updates.

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