Palestinian farmer Mohammad Masaeed picks eggplants with his family in his farm in the West Bank village of Al-Jiftlik, Feb. 5, 2020
Palestinian farmers pick eggplants in the West Bank village of Al-Jiftlik
Photo: Reuters
Palestinian farmers pick eggplants in the West Bank village of Al-Jiftlik

Israel, Palestinians defuse agricultural trade crisis

Tit-for-tat embargoes imposed by decision-makers in Jerusalem and Ramallah removed in bid to end trade war that left local merchants out of pocket

Associated Press |
Published: 02.20.20 , 12:56
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday that the country would allow Palestinian agricultural exports, a move aimed at defusing what has been an escalating trade crisis that had heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
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  • Bennett said in a statement that Israel would allow the agricultural exports after the Palestinians began accepting Israeli beef. There was no immediate comment from Palestinian officials.
    Palestinian farmer Mohammad Masaeed picks eggplants with his family in his farm in the West Bank village of Al-Jiftlik, Feb. 5, 2020 Palestinian farmer Mohammad Masaeed picks eggplants with his family in his farm in the West Bank village of Al-Jiftlik, Feb. 5, 2020
    Palestinian farmers pick eggplants in the West Bank village of Al-Jiftlik
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The ratcheting down of the trade crisis comes as tensions between Israel and the Palestinians are high following the unveiling last month of President Donald Trump's Mideast initiative, which is hugely favorable to Israel. The Palestinians have rejected the plan outright.
    The trade crisis erupted in September when the Palestinians decided to stop importing beef from Israel. The Palestinian Authority claimed most of the 120,000 head of cattle they imported monthly from Israel was itself imported and that they, therefore, preferred to import directly from abroad. The move appeared aimed at reducing the Palestinians' economic dependence on Israel.
    Shortly after the September announcement, Israeli cattle ranchers saw a drop in their market and pressured Israeli authorities to take action. Bennett retaliated with a ban on Palestinian beef and other products, triggering the Palestinians to expand their boycott, and stop importing Israeli vegetables, fruits, beverages and mineral water
    The Palestinians said their actions are aimed at pressuring Israel into revoking its ban, while Israel said normal trade would be restored the moment the Palestinians reverse the cattle ban that sparked the crisis.
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