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PA: Tons of Jewish-Grown Melons Grabbed, Arab to Stand Trial

The Palestinian Authority has indicted a PA man for buying melons from Jewish farmers in the Jordan Valley.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 5/4/2010, 9:54 AM / Last Update: 5/4/2010, 9:59 AM

Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority’s new law against buying produce manufactured or grown by Jews in Judea and Samaria receives its first test: An Arab will be charged with buying 10 tons of melons from a Jordan Valley community and attempting to deliver them to PA markets.

Arutz-7’s Haggai Huberman reports that the Arab truck driver was on his way to the Bethlehem area when he was stopped for a routine check at the entrance to the village of Abidiye. The local PA customs office chief, Amin Abu-Akal, said the melons were confiscated and that the driver will be charged with violating the new PA law authorizing the confiscation of Jewish goods.

The law was announced last month by Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, in direct contravention of the Paris Agreement. That agreement, concluded in 1994 after the signing of the Oslo Accords, governs economic relations between Israel and the PA, and forbids boycotts and the like.

Aub-Akal said that the PA preventative security agencies have formed a committee to oversee the destruction of Jewish-made goods.

Israel Threatens Counter-Measures
The Knesset Economics Committee has issued a call to deduct the losses caused to Israelis from the money that Israel transfers to the PA under other agreements. It also proposed that Israeli ports not allow the export of PA goods or the import of goods to the PA.

The PA is not ignoring the counter-measures that Israel is likely to take in response. It is concerned about the closure of Israeli ports to its goods, as well as the possibility of not allowing PA-made goods into Israeli markets, and more.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has proposed a diplomatic approach: “First, we will raise this issue at the proximity talks that are to start soon with the Palestinians. Second, we are also raising it before the [Europeans], and I hope that we will soon see them take action. Third, the PA is trying to obtain observer status at the World Trade Organization, which stands for free trade and preventing boycotts of this sort, which means that this boycott will make it harder for them to be accepted.”

The PA continues to take a tough stance, however. “If Israel closes its ports to our goods, this is a declaration of war and a siege on the Palestinians,” PA economists said this week, adding that they are confident that the world community will not allow this to happen.

Some PA economists said Israel would not sacrifice its national interests for the sake of the settlers. “Israel currently exports three billion dollars worth of goods to the PA a year,” said Abdel Hafiz Nofel, head of the PA’s business office, “while it imports from the PA only half-a-billion dollars. The Israeli Finance Ministry won’t endanger these giant sums just to save the settlers.”

Israel does not view the matter as merely affecting the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, however. The opinion was stated in the Knesset Economics Committee that the current boycott comes together with calls from the PA to boycott all Israeli products that the PA can manufacture itself, as well as restrictions on PA labor in Israeli firms. "This could become a snowball that will be hard to stop," one MK said.