Israel bans all Palestinian agricultural exports: official

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-10 03:03:25|Editor: huaxia

A Palestinian farmer picks oranges in an orchard in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on Nov. 28, 2019. (Xinhua/Rizek Abdeljawad)

Tit for tat: Israeli authorities Sunday informed Palestinian gov't of its decision to ban all Palestinian agricultural exports through Jordan, a week after Palestinians declared a ban on importing Israeli products such as vegetables, fruits, mineral water and soft drinks.

RAMALLAH, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli authorities on Sunday informed the Palestinian government that all Palestinian agricultural exports have been banned, said the Palestinian Ministry of Economy.

Azmi Abdelrahman, the ministry spokesman, told Xinhua that the decision by Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett to ban all Palestinian agricultural exports through Jordan already came into effect on Feb. 6.

"The Israeli decision was already implemented against our farmers on the Allenby border crossing to Jordan, but we were only officially informed of the ban today," said the spokesman.

The Israeli ban on exports involves Palestinian dates, olive oil and herbs with an annual value of around 100 million U.S. dollars, according to Abdelrahman.

This is the second round of tit-for-tat measures between Palestinians and Israelis as the Palestinian government declared last week a ban on importing Israeli products including vegetables, fruits, mineral water and soft drinks.

The first retaliatory round started with the Palestinian government deciding to ban the import of Israeli calves last September, which was followed by an Israeli ban on Palestinian fresh vegetables and fruits.

"Israel violated almost every article of the Paris Protocol," said Abdelrahman.

"Israel should not be allowed to intervene in the exports between Palestine and Jordan," he added.

Under the Paris Protocol, an economic treaty signed in 1994 to govern the economic relations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Palestinians are allowed to use the Israel-controlled ports and border crossings freely and the two sides are bound to regular meetings.

However, the joint economic committee between the two sides stopped meeting in 2000 and Israel has since been taking unilateral steps, said Abdelrahman.

"We have asked for meetings several times, but Israel never accepted," the Palestinian spokesman noted.

Palestinians in the West Bank can only use the Allenby Bridge to travel to Jordan and the rest of the world.