Experts: Resolution-Inspired Sanctions on Israel Possible, But Unlikely for Now

YERUSHALAYIM -
The United Nations Building in New York.

According to experts in international law, the U.N. Security Council resolution that passed Friday condemning Israel’s settlement policy opens the door for international sanctions against Israel – but speaking to Yediot Achronot Sunday, Dr. Yaakov Sheinin, one of Israel’s top economists, said that it was unlikely such sanctions would be imposed any time soon. With that, he said, there needed to be a change in the attitude among international politicians about Israel, in order to ensure that the country continues to thrive economically.

The resolution condemns “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem,” and expresses grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines. It also lays the basis for sanctions against Israel, “calling upon all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”

But Sheinin does not expect that to happen in the immediate future. “With that, there could be changes in the way business is done, and Israeli exports could be harmed. We are in a slow period for international investments – the only major investment in recent years has been that of Intel’s,” which recently invested several billion dollars in revamping its Kiryat Gat fabrication plant.

Among the exposed organizations are Israeli banks, most of which have branches in Yehudah and Shomron, but Sheinin does not expect the banks to close branches in the region either. In general, he does not believe that the resolution will unduly harm the economy – but it certainly won’t help. “We are barely growing the economy by 3 percent a year, but we could be growing at 5 percent, and thus we are facing huge losses. I don’t expect boycotts of Israel, but I would like investors who have alternatives to prefer investing with us, which would be more likely if we were better liked in the world. Unfortunately, the resolution will hurt us in that way.”