Sunday, August 18, 2019

Israeli Ministry blocks the import of Palestinian dairy and meat products


By F.F. Dawkins - July 16, 2019
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [trade and diplomatic relations]

As of 1 August, Israeli Authorities will prohibit the export of Palestinian meat and dairy products into East Jerusalem, a decision passed on 1 July this year. 


A large banner, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, at the Qalandia checkpoint passage for cargo trucks, stated that the import of products produced in the West Bank into East-Jerusalem, such as meat and dairy, is prohibited. 


The Ministry has yet not released a press statement, explaining the reasons for this step.


According to the Palestinian Economy Ministry, Palestinian Authorities (PA) had not received any formal notification about this decision. The Director of the Palestinian Food Industries Union (PFIU), Bassam Abu Ghalyoun told AI-Monitor that Palestinian companies had received a message from the Civil Israeli Civil Administration agriculture staff officer, Samir Muadi, informing them about the upcoming export restrictions.


He further explained that Palestinian dairy products export amounts 4,500 tons and 100 tons of meat which are exported to East-Jerusalem each month. 


In an interview with the Voice of Palestine Radio, Khalid al-Assaily, economy minister of the PA, stated that they would take on similar means targeting Israeli products exported to Palestine if the decision is carried out. 


The head of the Palestinian Society of Consumer Production, Salah Hanieh, explained that the Israeli decision would affect production sites in Jenin, Qalqilya, Tulkarm and markets like Dahariya in the south-west of Hebron.


This step is not the first strike Israel authorities have taken on the Palestinian meat and dairy production. Past import bans, such as in July 2010 and March 2016, have banned five dairy producers from Palestine exporting to East Jerusalem, causing severe trouble for the banned producers. 


In 2016, The PA responded to the export restriction on Palestinian companies, by prohibiting the import from five major Israeli food companies.


Israeli authorities have justified their past decisions by claiming that the PA was not able to ensure that the products would meet the Israeli health standards. The ban was eventually withdrawn after the US, and critical voices within the Israeli government have pressured the decision.


The newest decision also includes companies from the previous export bans, such as Hamoda Group, Al- Rayyan Dairy, Al-Junidi Dairies, Salwa Food Industry and Siniora Food. The recent decision adds Ghosheh Industrial Food company and Hidimi Food Industries to the list of banned companies.

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