July 22, 2013
In wake of Kerry-Abbas talks, Western sources tell Ynet Palestinians’ conditions for renewing peace talks include grant to build Ramallah airport, hotels in Dead Sea, more visas to, work permits in Israel
Western sources told Ynet Wednesday that in meetings with international sources on the issue of renewing peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians stipulated that they be granted approval to build an airport in Ramallah – the first in the West Bank.
It has been reported in the past that economic incentives would be granted to the Palestinians as part of the peace talks’ resumption, but so far the nature of said incentives has remained vague.
According to the sources, the airport will serve helicopters and light planes, and the Palestinians are asking that it be build in Area-A, which is exclusively under Palestinian control.
Kerry, Abbas meet in Jordan (Photo: EPA)
The airport, the Palestinians hope, will help the PA increase tourism and bolster the authority’s economy and commerce.
Since the forming of the Palestinian Authority, Israel has granted the construction of an airport in the Gaza Strip (Dahania Airport), but it was bombed and destroyed at the beginning of the Second Intifada.
The sources added that the Palestinians’ bid to increase tourism revenues would also apply to the Dead Sea, meaning that Israel would have to reassign lands under exclusive Israeli control (C) to lands under Israeli military control and Palestinian civil control (B), so as to allow Palestinians to build hotels on coast of the Dead Sea.
In the preliminary talks, the sources reported, the Palestinians further asked that Israel allow them to search for natural gas in front of Gaza shores in the strip’s territorial waters.
Regarding additional issues, the Palestinians requested that they be granted more visas into and work permits in Israeli territories.
Israel will most likely not consent to the demands, the sources added, most specifically referring to the airport and the reassigning of lands.
After Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman, Jordan earlier Wednesday, progress in terms of a possible resumption of PA-Israel peace talks seemed to be looming.
Abbas is to return to Ramallah Wednesday night and to convene with Palestinian leadership on Thursday to discuss his deliberations with Kerry.
A senior Palestinian source said that Kerry was determined to inform a negotiation renewal before he leaves the region. The source added that the US was trying to pressure Israel into renewing the negotiations.