March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Tuesday called for an immediate international action to stop Israeli restrictions on Palestinian economy.

This call came after the World Bank issued a report warning that the continued deterioration of the Palestinian economy "will have lasting and costly implications for economic competitiveness and social cohesion."

The Israeli restrictions include the frequent withholding of tax revenues, keeping military checkpoints in the West Bank, restricting the some Palestinian economic activities and preventing large-scale exports, said Jawwad Naji, Palestinian minister of economy.

Since the Palestinians upgraded their UN status to a non-member observer in November, Israel has withheld or delayed the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues to the PNA.

"This has put more obstacles before the local economy and struck the PNA's ability to meet its obligations to the private sector," Naji told Xinhua.

He slammed Israel for not respecting Paris agreement, the 1994 protocol that regulates economic relations between the two sides. "Israel only implements what it benefits of the agreement," Naji said.

The protocol has been set to expire after five years, but it is still in effect and still limits the Palestinian capacity to establish massive production and agricultural projects, he added.

The World Bank's report, released ahead of a March 19 meeting in Brussels for donors to the PNA, also attributed the economy's damage to the increasing fiscal crisis facing the West Bank-based Palestinian government.

Naji said the crisis and the ensuing delays in paying wages for public servants "caused dangerous stagnation and a serious decline in demand."


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