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PLO Council Declares Economic War on Israel

PLO CouncilPLO CouncilThe Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), held a meeting on Thursday in which it formulated a new economic plan to attack Israel and try to save the financially floundering Palestinian Authority (PA).
 
PLO Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Economy Dr. Mohammed Mustafa revealed details of the meeting in Ramallah on Thursday to the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency.
 
"We talked about ending economic cooperation with Israel that is in line with policies designed to shackle and stifle the Palestinian economy, and create Palestinian economic dependence on Israel," said Mustafa.
 
The move comes after Israel in January froze the transfer of $127 million in taxes on imported goods collected monthly for the PA, as a penalty for the PA applying to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to sue Israel for "war crimes" in a unilateral move breaching the 1993 Oslo Accords.
 
Revealing the scope of the effect in the punitive measure, PLO Finance Minister Shukri Bishara in February acknowledged the freeze is costing the PA 70% of its budget.
 
Following the meeting Thursday, Mustafa called for an increase in the intensity of a PA campaign to boycott Israeli products, announcing that an expanded list of Israeli companies being boycotted by the PA will be released this week by council president Mahmoud Al-Aloul.
 
Back in February, the council launched a boycott of six Israeli companies, giving two weeks to Palestinian Arab businessmen to destroy the Israeli products and publicly humiliating those who did not agree to do so.
 
One outcome of the tax fund transfer freeze is that it apparently worked in pressuring the PA to try and pay its massive debts to the Israeli Electric Corporation (IEC).
 
Last month the PA urged residents living under it to pay their tax bills to help it start paying a whopping debt of over 1.8 billion shekels ($450 million) to the IEC, after the IEC twice briefly cut off power.
 
Despite the PA's massive debts to Israel and aggressive moves for international recognition in breach of prior agreements, Israel's withholding of taxes has led to condemnation from the US, EU and UN, with US Secretary of State John Kerry warning the PA may collapse.
 
The PLO was an internationally recognized terrorist organization, as was PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, until the Oslo Accords removed that recognition. It's charter calls for "armed struggle" to replace Israel with "Palestine," a call it has acted upon countless times in the past, including in last summer's terror war by actively joining in attacks with its unity partner Hamas in Gaza.

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