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PA conditions for resumption of talks include airport near Ramallah

February 13, 2014 at 2:49 am

Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth has reported that the Palestinian Authority has put conditions for the resumption of talks, including the building of an airport near Ramallah and exploration rights for natural gas in the Gaza Strip’s territorial waters. According to the newspaper, the PA will also demand that Israel release long-term prisoners and offer the authority economic incentives.

High-ranking political sources told the newspaper that the first airport in the West Bank would serve light aircraft and helicopters in Area A, and would help the PA to increase its control over the areas under its authority. It would also encourage tourism and foreign investors to start projects in the West Bank, which will be to the PA’s advantage economically. However, the demand for a tourist resort on the Dead Sea would have serious repercussions for Israel as it would require occupied land to be “transferred” back to Palestinian control.

Along with these major projects, noted Yedioth Ahronoth, the PA is asking Israel to increase the number of work permits granted to Palestinians as well as permits for Palestinian-owned companies to operate in Israel. The sources said that Israel is unlikely to agree to the Palestinian demands but they could be open to negotiation.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Thursday that the gap between the Palestinian Authority and Israel is narrowing. His claim was made after his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and an Arab delegation in Jordan.