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Israeli court freezes ban on Palestinian food products

April 13, 2016 10:20 P.M. (Updated: April 14, 2016 12:29 P.M.)
A Palestinian man reads posters calling for people to boycott Israeli products on Aug. 12, 2014 in East Jerusalem (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli court froze a ban on Palestinian food products issued by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture in March, one of the Palestinian companies’ lawyers said on Wednesday.

In mid-March, Israeli authorities ruled to deny entry into Israel and occupied East Jerusalem to goods from five Palestinian food production companies, in a move which was branded by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as an “oppressive political” decision breaching all commercial agreements and protocols regulating Palestinian and Israeli economic relations.

The lawyer of Palestinian company Hamoda requested that Israeli courts freeze Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel’s decision for constituting a breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Ariel called the court’s decision a “scandal which threatens the health of Israeli consumers.”

Israeli authorities justified the ban on Palestinian food products at the time over alleged concerns regarding quality.

However, Hamdallah called the decision a “racist” attempt to “wipe out our national economy and suppress its development.”

In response to the Israeli ban, the Palestinian Authority halted imports from five major Israeli food companies.

In March, Hamoda head of marketing Fadi Abu Hilweh said that about 50 percent of the five banned Palestinian companies’ production went to Palestinian consumers in occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian communities in Israel.

According to the Paris Protocols, bilateral trade agreements between Israel and other parties are considered valid in the occupied West Bank, however Israel prevents the import of many Palestinian products to the Israeli market.

A poll by the the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted in June 2015 reported that the overwhelming majority of those interviewed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- 86 percent -- said they supported the campaign to boycott Israeli products.
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