Minister: We Will Have an Economic Clash with Israel

A plan launched by the National Committee against Israeli Punitive Measures has continued in cooperation with the private sector to stimulate Palestinian economic growth and goods production, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Economy, Dr. Mohammed Mustafa announced Thursday.

Discussion of the plan took place at a National Committee meeting held to discuss the proper response to punitive measures taken by Israel, as well as how to support future growth of the Palestinian economy.

Thursday’s meeting came after the committee announced a campaign in February to boycott the products of six Israeli companies, in response to Israeli withholding of more than $120 million of Palestinian tax revenues.

Mustafa emphasized that current Israeli policy violates the Paris Protocols, an agreement signed in 1995 between the PLO and Israel in September 1995, that set procedures and regulations governing economic relations between the occupied West Bank and Israel.

According to the protocols, bilateral trade agreements between Israel and other parties are considered valid in the occupied West Bank, however Israel prevents the import of many Palestinian products to the Israeli market, explained Mustafa.

“We talked about ending economic cooperation with Israel that is in line with policies designed to shackle and stifle the Palestinian economy, and create Palestinian economic dependence on Israel.”

Mustafa stressed the necessity for increased efforts in the national campaign to boycott Israeli products and in continuing to change consumer culture.

He announced that the list of boycotted Israeli companies would be expanded this week by committee president Mahmoud Al-Aloul.

Internal pressures to boycott Israeli products within the occupied have intensified in recent weeks, after the committee gave two weeks to Palestinian retailers in February to get rid of banned products and publicly humiliated those who didn’t oblige, according to Israeli news sources.

In early January, Israeli authorities froze the delivery of $127 million in Palestinian tax revenue, collected on imported goods, as a punitive measure in response to Palestine’s decision to join the International Criminal Court.

Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara reported in February that Israel’s freeze on Palestinian tax revenue was costing the Palestinian Authority 70 percent of its budget.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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