Palestinian FM rejects Israeli economic sanctions

Palestinian FM rejects Israeli economic sanctions
# 11 April 2014 18:08 (UTC +04:00)

Baku - APA. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki criticized Friday Israel's decision to impose economic sanctions on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) as peace talks falter between the two sides, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"We utterly condemn this move. Israel should stop violating the international law," al-Malki told Xinhua.

Israeli officials announced Thursday that tax revenues Israel collects from goods imports on behalf of the Palestinians, which exceeds one billion U.S. dollars each year, would be frozen in response to the PNA's request to join 15 international UN conventions.

Israel has also decided to suspend its participation with the Palestinians in developing a gas field off the Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered government offices to halt cooperation with the PNA. The decision pertains to economic and civilian cooperation with the Palestinians, and does not pertain to the activity of Israeli Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, as well as the security-related coordination.

For his part, al-Malki said Israel has not officially informed the PNA with these sanctions.

The Palestinian foreign minister stressed that the PNA would continue its efforts to join the UN agencies and treaties.

The Israeli sanctions come one day after the UN announced it had accepted the Palestinian's request to join a number of its agencies and treaties.

The PNA's requests came amid wavering peace negotiations, with U.S. efforts to save the peace process it sponsors.

Palestinians had halted endeavors to join UN treaties when peace talks resumed last July in exchange with the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

But Israel refused to release the final group of prisoners which was due to be released on March 29.

In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a document to request joining 15 UN agencies and treaties earlier this month.

The peace negotiations between the two sides have hit a deadlock after the tit-for-tat political confrontation, raising doubts of a possible collapse of the peace process which is set to end later this month.

On Thursday, the U.S. special envoy for peace has mediated a meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in Jerusalem in an attempt to bridge the gaps between the two sides to extend the current peace talks.

The U.S. State Department said late Wednesday that the gaps between the two sides are narrowing, but any speculation about an agreement are premature at this time.