Dec 19, 2004 9:11 pm


Prof. Ezra Sadan has served as Director General of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture has written a most interesting article on the effect of the security situation of the Israeli economy It includes the following story:

A European Tax on Jews that Penalizes Palestinians

If the loss of 125,000-150,000 jobs as an immediate outcome of the Palestinian violence were not enough, Palestinian employment is also bound to be penalized due to new measures by the European Union. A year and a half ago I was asked by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to go to Scandinavia to explain the real implications of the EU policy to treat goods from the territories differently from goods made in Israel. At issue is 2-3 percent of the gross value of farm exports from Israel. However, the Europeans have forgotten that there is a third partner, the Palestinians. Bluntly, the Europeans are asking Israel to take flowers produced by Arabs and mark them differently from those produced by Jews. They didn’t say that produce coming from the territories would be taxed. They said goods coming from the territories produced by certain people, identified in this case as Jews, will be taxed. In the same spirit, radicals in Europe have been talking about outright boycotting of these goods.

But boycotts and economic discrimination work in “mysterious” ways. Considering the latest measures and the measures contemplated by radicals with regard to farm goods, the potential victims stand to be the Palestinian producers and farm hands. For example, what happens if the Germans or the French decide not to consume Israeli strawberries? These strawberries are grown by Palestinian entrepreneurs in the Gaza region, or by Palestinian farm hands in Israel proper.

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