Palestinian Authority PM Hamdallah to meet with Israeli Finance Minister Kahlon

It will be the first meeting between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials since the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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January 29, 2018 21:51
2 minute read.
Palestinian Authority PM Hamdallah to meet with Israeli Finance Minister Kahlon

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah speaks during a mass wedding ceremony for 27 couples in Jenin last year.. (photo credit: ABED OMAR QUSINI/REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah plans to break the boycott against meetings with Israeli officials and is scheduled to head to Jerusalem on Sunday to meet with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) to try and avert a financial crisis.

It will be the first meeting between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials since US President Donald Trump's December 6 announcement that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate the United Staets embassy there from Tel Aviv.

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Since then, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been boycotting officials of both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's and Trump's administrations. The Palestinians refused to talk with US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to the region last week.

Last week in Davos, Trump threatened to halt US financial aid to the PA unless it agreed to hold talks with Israel.

“We give them (the Palestinians) hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support -- tremendous numbers; numbers that nobody understands. That money is on the table, and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”

But diplomatic sources in Jerusalem revealed to The Jerusalem Post that the meeting with Kahlon was requested by Hamdallah, who oversees the Palestinian economy.

In the meeting, which will be held at Kahlon's Jerusalem office, Hamdallah and Kahlon are set to discuss cooperation on joint Israeli-Palestinian economic projects. Kahlon and Hamdallah have met multiple times in the past and have built a professional relationship. They met in Ramallah on October 30, July 10, and June 1.

Sunday's meeting will follow up on a conversation in Jerusalem Monday between Kahlon and American negotiator Jason Greenblatt. The coordinator of government activities in the territories, General Yoav Mordechai also participated in the meeting, which Greenblatt wrote on Twitter was about "economic issues related to the peace process."

Three top Palestinian officials told The Post they were not aware of the meeting. But they indicated that they would be supportive if such a meeting took place. MKs on the Right said they had no problem with the meeting taking place, despite extremely critical statements Abbas has made recently about Israel.

Israeli and Palestinian officials are also expected to meet in Brussels on Wednesday when they participate in a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, chaired by the EU and Norway to discuss Pa financing. It’s 15 members also include the United States, Russia and the UN.

Adam Rasgon and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report


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