RAMALLAH, Thursday, February 20, 2020 (WAFA) - The Palestinian and Israeli sides reached understandings through international mediation that is supposed to bring to an end the trade war between them recently started and allow free flow of agricultural products through their borders and Palestinian import of calves from various sources.
Minister of Agriculture Riyad Atari said in a press statement that the core of these understandings is achieving the Palestinian demand for free import of live calves from abroad and establishing Palestinian infrastructure for a quarantine for the livestock, provided that the first batch of imported live calves be done within 40 days, as stipulated in these understandings.
Israel’s Defense Minister Naftali Bennett decided on February 2 to ban entry of Palestinian agricultural products to the Israeli markets, and later expanded it to include preventing export of Palestinian products to world markets, linking the suspension of this decision to the Palestinians agreeing to import calves only from Israel.
Atari said the understandings reached said that Israel would back down on all the measures it had taken three weeks ago, namely banning export of agricultural products to Israel and the world.
He expected that prices of meat in Palestine will decrease after the first batch of calves are imported, which is after 40 days.
Economy Minister Khaled Osaily also said in a press statement that the essence of the agreement allows the Palestinian side to directly import calves from various countries around the world without restrictions, while importing from Israel could be done as needed.
“This means that we were able to break the Israeli monopoly and control in this sector,” he said, pointing out that permits will be issued for direct import of calves from European countries.
He said that the agreement also allows establishing a quarantine for the livestock in the West Bank, which he considered "a strategic step in providing the necessary infrastructure to import livestock, so that the government can achieve its vision of a gradual disengagement from the occupier’s economy."
The understandings also included addressing the issue of Palestinian surplus of eggs, which amount to about 25 million eggs, out of 100 million annually.
Based on these understandings, agricultural products from each side will flow freely between them, while Palestinian producers will enjoy the freedom to export to foreign markets without restrictions, particularly dates, olive oil and medicinal herbs.
Osaily said that these understandings, which were formulated with international mediation, will come into effect on Sunday morning.M.K.