Amid unrest in the Middle East and attempts to renew negotiations with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday informed Quartet Envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair that he will take steps to support economic growth in the Palestinian territories.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset plenum, pledging to introduce economic measures to help boost the Palestinians' economy.
During his meeting with Blair on Friday, the two agreed on economic gestures that include improvements to infrastructure for Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
Netanyahu and Blair on Friday (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
The measures are meant to draw the Palestinians back to the negotiations table in order to resume direct talks.
After the meeting was concluded, Blair noted that the two agreed to extend the presence of Palestinian security forces throughout Area B in the West Bank, and advance the construction and restoration of schools and clinics in Area C based on plans that will be transferred to The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
The Quartet envoy added that Israel has agreed to support all projects in east Jerusalem that comply with municipal regulations, and that are aimed at improving the Palestinian infrastructure including in the field of housing.
Despite the concessions, Netanyahu emphasized that peace will not be attained by only promoting "economic peace," but rather by "engaging in negotiations for political peace, and I hope (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas answers my calls
"I insist on elements of peace and security because any agreement we reach needs to take into account not only the situation today, but also the situation that may come into being tomorrow," he said.
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