Farmers (file)
Farmers (file) Yaakov Lederman/Flash90

An Israeli ban on agricultural exports from the Palestinian Authority went into effect Sunday, as a trade spat between Israel and the PA escalated.

Last month, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett ordered trade sanctions be imposed on the PA in retaliation for the PA’s ban on a number of food products and agricultural goods from Israel, beginning with a ban on cattle imports last year.

On Sunday, the Israeli ban went into effect, barring the export of agricultural goods from Palestinian Authority abroad via the Allenby crossing on the Israel-Jordan border.

"Starting from today... export abroad of Palestinian agricultural product through the Allenby crossing will not be allowed," COGAT, the Israel defense ministry unit that oversees civilian activities in Judea and Samaria, said in a statement.

The Allenby crossing is the primary transit point for PA exports out of Judea and Samaria, which are then exported elsewhere via Jordan.

Moein Ashtiyeh, a Palestinian Authority farmer in the fertile Jordan Valley region, said he had 400 tons of dates set for export to Britain, Germany and Turkey, which he is currently unable to sell.

"If I can't export these dates, the Israeli action will cost me 10 million shekels ($2.9 million)," he told AFP.

COGAT said the measure was in response to a Palestinian Authority decision in October to stop importing calves from Israel.

That boycott "dramatically hurt Israeli cattle breeders", COGAT said.

The Palestinian Authority said at the time that they wanted to decrease their dependence on the Israeli market.

The trade dispute has escalated since US President Donald Trump released his controversial Middle East plan last month, which has been rejected by the Palestinian Authority.

Last week, Israel's defense ministry halted all imports of agricultural products from Arab towns in Judea and Samaria to Israel, cutting the Palestinian Authority off from a market that accounts for roughly two-thirds of their agricultural exports.

The Palestinian Authority responded by banning the import of Israeli produce, soft drinks and mineral water.

COGAT stressed that its ban would be reversed "the moment the Palestinian Authority took back its decision to harm cattle trade with Israel and the free market".

Did you find a mistake in the article or inappropriate advertisement? Report to us