Israel blocks Palestinian agricultural exports via Jordan


February 11.

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.

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.

Israel has put a ban on Palestinian agricultural exports which are transferred through Jordan, cutting off the occupied West Bank’s only direct export route. That is expected to cost the West Bank farmers millions of dollars in revenue. Israel’s move is in response to Palestinians stopping the buying of Israeli beef in September. Israel says the ban on goods through Jordan will only be lifted when Palestinians decide to resume buying its meat. Al Jazeera’s Raheela Mahomed reports.


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