Photo Credit: Gad Amiton/TPS
A sign at the entrance to Palestinian Authority controlled- Area A.

“We intend to make a series of amendments to the Paris agreements, including the issue of customs,” a senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official who was a member of the negotiating team drafting the Paris agreements told TPS.

The 1994 Paris Accords dictate the economic relations between Israel and the PA.

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According to the senior official, the PA intends to make amendments to the customs and tax arrangements, re-edit the import and export quotas and bring about a different method of collecting the taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the PA.

The official said that “since the signing of the eight economic agreements known as the Paris Agreements, as an annex to the Oslo Accords in 1994, there have been severe restrictions on the Palestinian economy and the need to update the agreements time and time again to encourage the PA’s economy.”

In addition, the fact that the joint economic committee for Israel and the PA has not been operating regularly for years also raises the need to amend the agreements.

He further said that the PA is working with European countries to ensure that Israel stops deducting from the tax money it collects for the Palestinian Authority and to correct the rate of fees charged by Israel for collecting the tax money in its territories.

There are ALSO fears in the PA that the opening of the agreements will lead Israel to a series of counter-measures that will stifle the PA’s economy, and it should be noted that Israel sees the Paris Protocols as a condition for allowing Palestinian Authority Arabs to continue working in its territory.

The Paris Protocols was supposed to be valid for five years, but it is still valid today, 25 years after its signing.

The protocol stated that the New Shekel is the legal currency in the PA and the only means of payment and that the PA is not allowed to establish an independent currency.

The agreements also stipulate restrictions on goods that are under Israeli supervision and that PA trade takes place through Israeli seaports, Israeli airports, or border crossings between the PA and Jordan and Egypt.

In this context, it should be noted that the recent PA governments have worked for economic disengagement from Israel and, among other things, have examined the establishment of an independent Palestinian Authority currency, the import of fuels from Iraq to the port of Aqaba in Jordan and other economic agreements.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.