Palestinian leaders are spearheading a new effort to reduce their economic dependence on Israel by approaching Arab states for economic cooperation and agreements in a move meant to help counter the Trump Administration’s so-called deal of the century peace project.
Over the past two weeks, a delegation headed by Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh visited Iraq and Jordan, where senior Palestinian officials discussed proposals for new economic understandings and emphasized the importance of “maintaining the priority of the Palestinian cause among Arab states in order to unite efforts to end the Israeli occupation.”
Azmy Abd al-Rahman, spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority’s Economy Ministry, told The Media Line that reducing dependence on Israel was the top priority of the ministry and the government.
“The move is part of the Palestinian development strategy for 2017-2020,” Abd al-Rahman said. “We are currently studying which Israeli products the Palestinian market can dispense with.”
He said that currently, 85 percent of Palestinian exports go to Israel, while 60% of Palestinian imports come from Israel.
“We follow a plan of gradual withdrawal (from trading with Israel) by steps,” he said.
This week, Shtayyeh met with the Iraqi president and prime minister, and reviewed the latest political developments. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Finance Minister Shukri Bishara and Economy Minister Khalid al-Asaily.