Palestinian Authority bans imports from 5 major Israeli food companies

In response to Israel’s decision to halt the import of dairy products from five Palestinian companies because they did not meet the requirements of the Israeli market, the Palestinians are choosing to embark on another failed battle.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority (PA) decided on Tuesday to boycott Israeli products from five major Israeli food production companies and stop their import into the PA.

In a statement released after the weekly cabinet meeting, the PA said the decision came in response to an Israeli ban on products from five Palestinian companies earlier this month, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.

According to the statement, products from the Tnuva, Strauss, Tara, Zoglobek and Tapuzina companies will be banned from entering the PA.

It added that the relevant authorities have been instructed “to put the decision into effect after giving Palestinian merchants enough time to sell the products stocked in their stores.”

On Sunday, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah slammed the recent Israeli decision to stop the import of some Palestinian food products as “racist,” chalking it up as one of many “attempts to isolate Jerusalem from its surroundings and erase its identity.”

Hamdallah described the Israeli decision as an “oppressive, political” decision breaching all commercial agreements and protocols regulating Palestinian and Israeli economic relations, and an effort to “wipe out our national economy and suppress its development.”

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Israel has halted the import of dairy products from five Palestinian companies because they did not meet the requirements of the Israeli market. Once the standards are met, the ban will be removed, as the decision is technical and not political.

Fadi Abu Hilweh, the director of marketing for Hamoda company – one of the companies affected by the Israeli decision – told Ma’an at a protest against the ban on March 13 that about 50 percent of the five Palestinian companies’ production goes to Arab consumers in Jerusalem and Arab communities in Israel.

If the ban continues, he said, the companies could lose some 1.2 billion shekels ($310 million) a year.

The PA has in the past attempted to ban Israeli products from the Palestinian market. In February 2015, it decided to ban six of the leading Israeli brands from Palestinian stores following an Israeli decision to freeze the handover of tax revenues to the PA following its international campaign against Israel.

However, these attempts have failed. Palestinians prefer Israeli products over local production because of their high standards and high quality.