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Palestinian FM Threatens International Arbitration over Exports Crisis

Palestinian FM Threatens International Arbitration over Exports Crisis

Tuesday, 29 October, 2019 - 09:45
Plastic toys are displayed for sale outside a shop in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank November 18, 2018. Picture taken November 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki warned that the Palestinian Authority would call for international arbitration if Israel implemented threats to ban Palestinian exports.

In an interview with Voice of Palestine radio on Monday, Maliki said that the Palestinians could resort to the International Court of Arbitration, as well as the United Nations Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice and the UN General Assembly, in order to force Israel to retreat from such threats.

“The Protocol on Economic Relation, signed between the Palestinian Authority and Israel allows us to export, a right we obtained from that agreement,” he said.

The Protocol was signed as part of the Gaza–Jericho Agreement. According to it, Israel collects and transfers to the Palestinian Authority the import taxes on goods that were intended for the Palestinian territories. Israel may unilaterally establish and change the taxes imposed on imported goods.

For years, the Palestinians have sought to amend the agreement given it is detrimental to Palestinian economic interests, yet with no avail.

According to media reports, Israel is considering taking a number of punitive measures against the PA in response to the ban on importing calves. The measures include, among other things, banning the entry of international aid to the West Bank and preventing the export of Palestinian olive oil and dates to the Arab countries.

About 90 percent of the PA market's needs for calves and cattle were imported from Israel.

On the other hand, Ranchers demonstrated in Israel and called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pressure the Palestinian government to reverse its decision, protesting the lack of an Israeli response to the Palestinian economic boycott on Israeli products.

Israeli media estimated Israeli losses at NIS 80 million monthly.

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