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Palestinian Authority Signs Fuel Deal with 2 Israeli Companies; Gaza Boycotts UNICEF

The Palestinian Authority on Monday signed a two-year contract worth $491 million to buy fuel oil from two Israeli companies. Oil Refineries, Petrochemical Industries (ORL) and Paz Oil will each provide 50% of the PA’s fuel needs. For ORL, it’s the first time contracting with the Palestinians. Paz used to share the commitment with Dor Alon. The contract runs through 2014. Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, the contractors’ union has announced a boycott of all building projects by the United Nations organization UNICEF. The Palestinians are angry that UNICEF is allowing Israeli companies to bid for construction work in Gaza, thus “equating them with Palestinian companies.” A UNICEF representative reiterated the organization’s commitment to working with Palestinian companies and said it goes elsewhere only “when goods are not available.” But because the Palestinians blame Israel for strangling Gaza’s economy by imposing a boycott and not allowing materials it deems as suitable for military use into the area, they see allowing Israeli companies to bid for work there as unacceptable.