Allenby Bridge
Allenby Bridge
Photo: AP
Allenby Bridge

Israel blocks Palestinian exports in escalating trade crisis

Tit-for-tat embargoes imposed by decision-makers in Jerusalem and Ramallah leaves local merchants out of pocket as political situation corrodes long-standing trade links

Reuters |
Published: 02.09.20 , 22:35
The IDF blocked Palestinian agricultural exports on Sunday in the latest escalation of a monthslong trade war that comes amid fears of renewed violence.
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  • Following Defense Minister Naftali Bennett's instruction, the military said it would not allow Palestinians to transfer their products through Allenby Bridge crossing to Jordan, the West Bank's only direct export route to the outside world.
    Allenby Bridge Allenby Bridge
    Allenby Bridge
    (Photo: AP)
    The Palestinian Authority said Israeli forces at checkpoints blocked vegetable shipments that were on their way to export abroad.
    A statement by the Ministry of Agriculture said vegetable exports to Israel were worth $88 million (over NIS 330 million) last year, comprising 68% of the West Bank's overall vegetable exports.
    The crisis erupted in September when the Palestinians decided to stop importing beef from Israel. The Palestinian Authority claimed most of the 120,000 heads of cattle they imported every month from Israel, were themselves imported and that they, therefore, preferred to import directly from abroad. The move appears to be aimed at reducing the Palestinians' economic dependence on Israel.
    מעבר ארזמעבר ארז
    The Erez border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip
    (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
    Shortly after the September announcement, Israeli cattle ranchers saw a drop in their income 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 fruits, vegetables, beverages, and mineral water.
    The Palestinians say their actions are meant to pressure Israel into overturning its ban, while Israel says normal trade will be restored the moment the Palestinians reverse the cattle ban that started the crisis in the first place.
    The trade crisis comes amid a surge in violence following the release of U.S. President Donald Trump's Mideast plan, which the Palestinians have rejected. A week of protests culminated Thursday with an early morning attack on Israeli soldiers, which left more than a dozen wounded, and clashes in which five Palestinians were killed.
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