Israel blocks Palestinian exports in escalating trade crisis

The Israeli military blocked Palestinian agricultural exports yesterday in the latest escalation of a monthslong trade war that comes amid fears of renewed violence as well.
Following Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s instruction, the military said it would not allow the Palestinians to transfer their products through their land crossing to Jordan, the West Bank’s only direct export route to the outside world.
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority said Israeli forces at checkpoints blocked vegetable shipments that were in their way to export abroad. The Ministry of Agriculture statement said vegetable exports to Israel were worth $88 million last year, comprising 68% of the West Bank’s overall vegetable exports.
The crisis erupted in September, when the Palestinians decided to stop importing beef from Israel. The Palestinian Authority claimed most of the 120,000 head of cattle they imported monthly from Israel was itself imported and that they therefore preferred to import directly from abroad. The move appeared aimed at reducing the Palestinians’ economic dependence on Israel. MDT/AP

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