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      Feiglin: Talks Worse for Economy Than Boycott

      Likud MK unconcerned by boycott threat, says data proves Israel-PA talks – and US aid – hurt Israel more than sanctions.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 2/2/2014, 10:14 AM

      MK Moshe Feiglin
      MK Moshe Feiglin
      Flash 90

      Israel’s current negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) – and the aid given to Israel by the United States – are worse for the Israeli economy than international boycotts would be, MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) has declared.

      In a post to Facebook on Sunday, Feiglin explained why Israelis should not fear the boycott threat made by United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

      “When Kerry threatens a boycott, we should note that Israel exports more than 30% more to the United States than it imports,” he began.

      “While the Israeli exports – primarily hi-tech – would be difficult to impossible to replace, the imports from America – primarily weapons – have replacements in Israel, or elsewhere,” he continued.

      “But it goes farther than that. Israel is forced to buy systems from the United States (like the F35) that we do not need, which wastes billions, is harmful to Israeli defense, and of course, involves tremendous corruption,” he charged.

      Feiglin, who heads the Jewish Leadership branch of the Likud, said he would bring further data showing how the current situation damages Israel’s economy in the upcoming days.

      “But I can tell you the bottom line already,” he wrote. “It is the diplomatic process that is gnawing away at Israel’s economy and doing serious damage – not to the tune of ten billion a year as Lapid threatens, but – as I will prove – to a much greater extent.”

      Kerry warned Saturday that if Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinian Authority fail, Israel will find itself facing global boycotts and delegitimization. His warning follows reports that Kerry himself is manipulating anti-Israeli boycotts for the sake of forwarding his plans for Israel-PA talks.

      His comments were met with criticism among Israeli leaders. “We respect Secretary of State Kerry, but will not hold talks with a gun to our head,” said Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned that one-sided boycott threats make peace less likely. When PA leaders see that Israel – and only Israel – will face negative consequences if talks fail, “it hardens the Palestinian position,” he said during a recent address in Davos.

      Threats make it harder for Israeli leaders to make concessions as well, he added.