The Director-General of the Palestinian Petroleum Agency, Fouad al-Shobaki
Ramallah – Sona Adeek
The Director-General of the Palestinian Petroleum Agency, Fouad al-Shobaki, has denied reports that the Palestinian Authority plans to import fuel from any party apart from Israel.Al-Shobaki told Arabstoday that the PA
had no intention to import fuel from any other party for the lack of required preparations and that Israel controlled all the border gates of the PA.
\"The Paris economic agreement, Paris Protocol, allows this but Israel shows no respect for the agreements made between the PA and Israel,\" he said.
Al-Shobaki said oil and natural gas prices would rise in Palestine next month to reach $2.1 per litre while prices will rise an additional $150 per tonne.
Speaking to Arabstoday, economic analyst Nasr Abdelkarim saw a link between the high prices in Palestine and the Paris Protocol especially concerning imports and exports to and from the Palestinian territories. He said that the PA needs to find a change and alternative to importing particularly in energy based on the Paris agreement as energy consumption in Palestine cost the PA $300 million out of its budget. He accused the PA of negligence and irresponsibility and said the government could import oil from Gulf countries for very cheap prices.
\"If Israel objects to them entering through the crossings, they can be refined and produced in Jordan instead,\" he said.
He called on the PA to work on transforming its economy from a commerce and service-based model to a production-based one, in addition to monitoring prices, organising the market and controlling it.
The Paris Protocol, whose term was specified as five years since its signing in 1994, included a tax cap, referring to the freedom of movement of people and merchandise between Israel and the PA.
Abdelkarim accused Israel of impeding Palestine\'s economic policy through the Paris Protocol which incorporated incapacitating conditions for direct import and exports and linked them to Israeli agents.
\"Israel did not abide by the Paris Protocol concerning exports of Palestinian products in addition to refusing to activate a technical committee formed according to the agreement. The joint economic committee must review all goods and products imported and exported to and from the Palestinian markets which remain the same after years of the same specifications. Sadly enough, the Paris agreement subordinated the Palestinian economy for the Israeli economy. It gave the Palestinian side nothing and restricted Palestinian imports and exports to take place only through the Israeli side. It did not give Palestine freedom to deal directly with the outside world,\" he said.
\"The Paris Protocol included a large number of goods that no longer have anything to do with reality regarding their type or size or the nature of relation between the Palestinian territories and Israel on the one hand and the Palestinian territories and the world on the other. Israel, however, did not keep any of the articles of the protocol and has retained Palestinian tax money in many cases in addition to deducting 3 percent of them,\" he added.
Abdelkarim said there was a dire need to make changed to the Paris Protocol and in particular the articles dealing with financial relations, tax rights, banking relations, the right to issue a currency as well as Palestinian banks’ relations with their global counterparts while avoiding passing through Israeli banks.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said the Paris Protocol must be adapted as part of his steps to obtain UN membership for a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.
Israel’s response to Abbas’ statements concerning the amendment has never been positive.
The rising prices of some nutritional goods and beverages, restaurants, cafes and hotel services, cultural and entertainment goods and services, furniture, linens and home products are the main reason for the rise of prices in the Palestinian territories despite the decreasing prices of cloth, garments, footwear, transportation, apartments and related needs, while the prices of other goods slightly fluctuated in comparison to last month.
Head of the Customer Protection Agency in Ramallah and al-Bireh Salah Haniyeh called on the Palestinian Investment Fund to lead the process of establishing commercial centres for retail in all Palestinian cities in cooperation with the private sector to guarantee basic consumer needs of different goods at prices suitable to the average income in Palestine.
Haniyeh said in a statement that the Investment Fund can lead such a move and form a positive intervention to set the price index in the market. It could also control the existing monopoly so that basic goods retailers can collectively set the price.
Haniyeh said consumer markets had failed and that the alternative lay in commercial retail centres by a party that bore social responsibility and partnership with the private sector to alleviate the burden for the consumer.
Haniyeh praised the role of the Ministry of National Economy of the national provisions committee studying price issues and market control and communicates with traders to determine mechanisms that warrant market balance and control.