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Israel Blocks West Bank Exports as Trade Tensions Rise, Along With Towers of Unsold Produce



Photo of a local Arabian market in Nablus, Palestine
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JERICHO, West Bank — The market in this West Bank city always bustles with activity, but the chaos has reached an unusual pitch in recent days. Boxes of unsold eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini are stacked high, these towers marking a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
An escalating trade war has frozen much of the commerce between the two sides, squeezing an already fragile West Bank economy.
The dispute began to simmer in the fall when Palestinian officials curtailed the import of Israeli beef into areas under their control. Israel this week responded, blocking the import of Palestinian produce, closing access to the Arab growers’ biggest market.
Then, after the Palestinian Authority retaliated by barring a range of Israeli goods, Israel went even further, stopping the shipment of West Bank produce into Jordan, a transfer point for export on to regional and European markets.
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