April 2, 2013 | Al-Monitor
NGOs are calling on the EU to stop trade relations with Israeli settlements, which undermined Palestinians' ability to create a viable economy.
Newly planted date trees, only a meter high, are lined up in close rows in the hot desert outskirts of the ancient city of Jericho. They surround the offices of Nakheel Palestine, an agricultural company exporting Medjool dates from the West Bank's Jordan Valley. Like its trees, the company is still young and struggling to survive in a hot and hostile environment.
“In regards to farming, the main challenge is securing the land and finding the water to keep the trees alive and producing,” Maisa Manasrah, sales manager at Nakheel Palestine told Al-Monitor while walking in the fields of small date trees. She added that demolition orders on water wells and houses used by their farmers, threats of confiscation of land, lack of access to harbors and airports and reliance on Israel for importing fertilizer and chemicals make it difficult to establish a competitive business.
By contrast, the conditions for their competitors in Israeli settlements also located in the Jordan Valley are quite different.