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Israel to impose economic sanctions on PA

Israel has begun a series of punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority in response to the Palestinian request to join 15 international UN treaties, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

The present economic sanctions come in the wake of latest crisis in the political process which reached its climax on Wednesday. During an emergency session between US envoy Martin Indyk and the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams during which Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni demanded the Palestinian Authority back down from its request to go to the United Nations organisations otherwise Israel will not release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners.

The newspaper quoted an Israeli official as saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon asked the Coordinator of Activities in the West Bank Territories Yoav Mordechai to submit proposals of punitive measures against the Palestinians.

According to the paper the suggestions included freezing the Wataniya mobile company, which operates in the West Bank, from entering hardware to the Gaza Strip to deploy its mobile communications network there, and to impose restrictions on the activity of the Palestinian Authority in the Area C in the West Bank which falls under Israeli security and civil control.

The paper said a study of other economic sanctions is being conducted. Options being considered include freezing the tax and customs revenues which Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and collecting the Palestinian debt amounting to hundreds of millions of shekels to the Israeli Electricity Company. No decision has been made as to which measure will be implemented.

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