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Lapid: Israeli economy will suffer without peace deal
By NIV ELIS
03/02/2014
Finance minister says Israel can't pretend that threat of boycott will not exist in event that peace talks fail.
 
Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Monday said that Israel's economy will take a blow if there is no arrangement reached with the Palestinians.

"It will hit the pocket of every Israeli if we don't deal with it," he said in an interview with Army Radio. "Every Israeli needs to make a decision. He needs to know that if there's not an arrangement his economic life will be harmed, and he needs to decide what he thinks about it."

The threat of a boycott, which he estimated last week could cost Israel's economy NIS 11 billion and nearly 10,000 jobs, is growing, he said, noting that Germany was, for the first time, talking of banning settlement products.

"Israel won't conduct its policy based on threats, but to pretend that the threats don't exist, or that they're not serious or it's not a process happening in front of us, is also not serious," Lapid said.

The comments come after US Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted over the weekend as saying that failure of talks could lead to a boycott, raising the ire of ministers in the Israeli government. "People are very sensitive to it, there is talk of boycott and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?" Kerry said.

On Sunday, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz called the comments, “offensive, unreasonable and unacceptable," adding that it was impossible to expect Israel to negotiate with a gun to its head.” Construction and
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