Palestinians ask to open Paris Protocol

Sept. 9, 2012 at 7:56 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Authority has asked Israel to amend the Paris Protocol that stipulates economic ties between the two sides, a Palestinian minister said.

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said he submitted a request on behalf of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to reopen the Paris Protocol, Israel Radio said Sunday. Al-Sheikh said the current economic situation requires changes to the agreement, the radio said.

Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's political and security bureau, said while he was unaware of the request, one must be cautious before agreeing to re-open such an agreement.

"The opening of one agreement can lead to the opening of another," he said.

The request must be examined thoroughly to ensure that any amendments made to the agreement will not worsen the economic situation in the West Bank, he said.

The Palestinian request comes amid demonstrations across the West Bank protesting the rising cost of living and increased unemployment, the Palestinian Maan news agency said.

The Paris Protocol -- signed between the sides in Paris in 1994 -- stipulated economic ties between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and called for the latter to establish a monetary authority to regulate and supervise banks, foreign currency, reserves and transactions. It required the Palestinians to levy income tax on its civilians, property and municipal taxes with the Israeli shekel remaining the legal currency in the area until an agreement is reached on Palestinian currency.

Maan said the agreement also gave Israel sole control over the external trade of the Palestinian Authority and allowed it to collect custom duties.

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