RAMALLAH, Saturday, October 05, 2019 (WAFA) – Reactivating the joint Palestinian-Israeli technical committees will allow the Palestinians to pursue all issues that Israel has not abided by in the Paris Economic Protocol, today said Palestinian officials and economists.
Ahmad Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that the leadership succeeded in extracting from Israel the decision to reactivate the joint committees under the Paris Economic Protocol, which allows the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pursue and reconsider all economic issues and investigate all the funds that Israel deducts.
“This is being done for the first time since the year 2000,” he said.
Hussein Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Authority for Civil Affairs and member of Fatah Central Committee, said today that he agreed with the Israeli Minister of Finance, Moshe Kahlon, in their meeting on Thursday to resume the work of the joint Palestinian-Israeli technical committees starting Sunday.
Majdalani told Voice of Palestine radio that "the meeting of the joint committees, which was suspended by Israel since 2000, will discuss in its first meeting on Sunday the deductions by Israel, such as electricity and water bills and medical transfers, and review the fees collected for the sewage and at the crossings, as well as all issues related to the Palestinian clearing funds."
He pointed out that the return to the work of the joint committees also aims at disengaging from the Israeli economy because it will allow for reconsidering the terms of the Paris Protocol and renegotiating other items such as importing goods that were not included in the agreed on lists at the time of the signing of the protocol in Paris in April 1994.
Majdalani said the PA will, nevertheless, continue to seek international arbitration over Israel’s withholding of Palestinian funds and its disregard for the signed agreements, as well as the inadequacy of the Paris Protocol for economic development in various sectors such as telecommunications and energy.
He pointed out that international arbitration will demand that Israel correct the discrepancy and prevailing injustice, and that the main objective in international arbitration is to review all agreements signed with Israel.
Economist Samir Abdullah said that the reactivation of the Joint Economic Committee, whose main objective is to implement and follow up the implementation of the Paris Economic Protocol and make the necessary amendments and facilities to implement this agreement, would pave the way for the Palestinians to review Israel’s non-compliance with many of the provisions of the agreement.
He told Voice of Palestine radio that suspending the work of the committee all these years prevented holding Israel accountable, stressing that a number of the issues that have been suspended will be pursued to amend and implement them such as infrastructure construction and projects that pass through Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under Israeli control, in addition to increasing the volume of imports in order to increase revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars to cover the budget deficit.
Businessman and economist Samir Huleileh stressed the importance of reactivating the joint committees with Israel, which would enable Palestine to follow up on all the issues related to the agreements, especially the Paris agreement, including financial, agricultural, tourism, insurance and monetary issues.
"The start of the meetings of the joint committee on Sunday, after being suspended for almost 20 years, means creating a channel through which it will be possible to guarantee that Israel would not arbitrarily deducted from the clearing money," he told Voice of Palestine radio.
He pointed out that amendments will be made to some agreements on important issues such as importing petroleum from Jordan without the approval of the Israeli government, in addition to lifting the quota on goods that the Palestinians are allowed to import from outside Israel.