(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel ordered Wednesday to stop the import to Israel of fruits and vegetables grown by Palestinians in the area of the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control.
"The importation of fresh agricultural goods from the PA will not be authorized until further notice," Ariel said. "I will not allow a unilateral violation of the [trade] agreements; every violation will be answered."
The move comes in response to the Palestinian Authority's halt of fresh lamb meat import from Israel, and despite the protest of senior security personnel.
"This is an irresponsible step taken that harms Israel's security," senior security personnel commented. "Ariel's decision is just, but the PA is willing to discuss the situation, there is no need to fan the fire."
Ariel's decision will have a serious effect on Palestinian farmers, as their losses are estimated at one million shekels per day and close to 300 tons of fruits and vegetables.
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