Israel, Palestinians fix economic ties

AFP-JIJI

Israel and the Palestinian Authority, at a meeting of their finance ministers on Sunday, decided to resume economic cooperation suspended by the Jewish state last year.

The Israeli Finance Ministry, announcing the agreement as host of the Jerusalem talks, said newly appointed Palestinian minister Shukri Bishara met his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, who took office in March.

They discussed “the implementation of confidence-building measures,” it said, and a timetable was laid down after the meeting to renew economic ties between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian Finance Ministry spokesman Rami Mahdawi said Israel had agreed to hand over the monthly taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority.

Between December 2012 and March 2013, Israel suspended the transfer of the taxes in reprisal for the Palestinians being accorded the status of observer state at the United Nations.

The aim of renewed cooperation is to relaunch regular meetings on technical issues such as crossing points; fuel, power and water supplies; and payment for treatment of Palestinians in Israeli hospitals, the Palestinians said. Israel halted the meetings in November after the U.N. General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians’ status.

“There are problems concerning daily life for Palestinians that must be coordinated and followed up with Israeli occupation authorities,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said.