US Treasury official says Israel will weather the storm financially.
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Israel’s economy will weather the international furor over last week’s IDF raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal S. Wolin told reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday.“It is unlikely to affect Israel’s economy. My sense is that the Israeli economy has proved itself through the world’s financial crisis and lots of other challenges to be very resilient and very strong and that will continue to be the case. Issues that relate to the [Gaza ships] will not change that at all,” he said.Wolin was in the region to speak at the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem last week.He met with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon during his visit.During his conversation with Israeli officials, he spoke about financial measures that the US uses to prevent terrorism and about the upcoming UN Security Council vote on tougher Iranian sanctions, which he was hopeful would be approved.“We have moved with lots of effort and I think lots of success toward securing another UN Security Council resolution strengthening and broadening the Iran sanctions program,” Wolin said.“We had a chance to update the ministers as to where things stood with that work, but also with efforts that the US is making unilaterally and multilaterally in Europe and elsewhere to make sure that proliferation activities of the Iranian government are subject to strong scrutiny.”AdvertisementThe US is also working to cut off financing that facilitates the development of Iran’s nuclear and missile program, he said.Wolin hesitated to criticize the Palestinian Authority’s decision tolevel an economic boycott on the settlements. He said that it wassomething the two parties needed to work out themselves.But he did say that, when speaking with Palestinians officials duringhis visit, he told them that to build their own economy they would needIsrael’s cooperation and “meaningful involvement.” Both sides will haveto find ways to extend and cement cooperation, he said.Wolin said Israel had done well in the midst of substantial global downturn.“The economy here has returned to growth and the government has put inplace a strong set of fiscal rules and is well poised to continue itsgrowth in this year and next,” Wolin said.
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