A week after the first official meeting between an Israeli and Palestinian minister, which ended in a promise to continue to hold talks aimed at promoting economic peace, Palestinian Minister for National Economy Bassem Khoury announced there will be no more meetings.
Khoury was the subject of much criticism following his meeting with Israeli Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom, and as a result said he would not meet with the minister again until Israel complies with the Palestinian Authority's demands, mainly those that were raised during the joint economic committee meeting.
Khoury said that the joint committee was meant to meet three more times by the end of the year, but stressed that, for the time being, there will be no more meetings.
Following the criticism of his meeting with Shalom, the Palestinian Minister said, "It is wrong to make accusations and criticize without knowing the content of the meeting. Our meeting had nothing to do with negotiations, which are still frozen and will remain frozen until Israel freezes its settlements."
He reiterated his position that "the meeting was only meant to deal with a number of issues stemming from the occupation policies that directly disrupt the Palestinian public's daily lives."
Shalom and Khoury met last week in Jerusalem, first in private, and then were joined by a members of the joint economic committee.
During the meeting, the two worked on removing bureaucratic hurdles in hopes of promoting economic peace. The two discussed the industrial zone in Jenin, the Christian pilgrimage site on the Jordan River, and other joint projects.