Palestinian Authority moves to halt Israeli food imports


Palestinian shopkeepers in the West Bank have been instructed to boycott many Israeli foods as of this morning.

A powerful committee of Palestinian factions declared on Monday that six Israeli produce companies were to be boycotted by all Palestinian businesses, beginning today. The companies – Tenuva, Strauss, Osem, Elite, Jafora and Prigat – represent a substantial proportion of the Israeli food market producing staples such as dairy products, pasta, confectionary and snacks. All food must be removed from shelves and all stock offloaded or destroyed within two weeks.

The ban was presented as a response to Israel’s decision to withhold tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority. Israel stopped the transfer of tax funds to the PA after its President Mahmoud Abbas took a series of unilateral steps in the United Nations.

Israel Hayom reports that although the decision is not strictly legally binding, a Palestinian source told the paper that it was supported by President Abbas.

Israeli products make up a large proportion of the foodstuffs filling the shelves in Palestinian supermarkets. Previous boycott attempts have failed because Palestinian refused to remove them from sale.

One Palestinian shopkeeper told Israel Hayom, “All that will happen is that a black market will develop for these products. They will be overpriced, and no tax will be paid on them. Also, anyone who can will just go to the Israeli stores in the settlements to buy them. This move can only backfire.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Sweden last night to open an Embassy there; Sweden recognised a State of Palestine in October. Speaking at a press conference with Abbas, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven warned ,“According to our view, Palestine is from now on a state. Therefore our expectations from Palestine and its leaders are going to grow.”