In an effort to ensure that economic issues are included in this month's Israel-Palestinian Authority Peace Summit, manufacturing leaders from both sides called on their respective governments late Sunday night to also discuss the reopening of the Paris Trade Protocols and the re-establishment of the Israel-PA Economic Forum at the negotiating tables of Annapolis.
The Paris agreements, originally signed as part of the 1994 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PA, established the notion of a single customs envelope including Israel and the territories.
The meeting was led by Manufacturers Association of Israel President Shraga Brosh and Dr. Bassim Khoury, chairman of the Palestinian Federation of Industries.
"The participants in the meeting are calling on our leaders to expand and deepen the economic ties between Israel and the PA because we believe the economic cooperation is the best way to bring about calm and generate reciprocal benefits for both Israel and the PA," the Association said. "We are calling on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas to consider the economic security for Israel and the PA and to reopen the crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip in order to allow for the passage of people and goods between the two areas."
Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza on June 12, the Karni crossing, which had served as the primary passageway of goods into and out of Gaza, has been open only for the transfer of humanitarian necessities as Israel and the PA continue to search for a viable alternative to Hamas personnel manning the border crossings.
Meanwhile, the 3rd annual conference dedicated to Jewish-Arab business in Israel, sponsored by the Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development (CJAED) will take place today. The guiding principle of the Center and its activities is that Jewish-Arab economic cooperation in Israel is essential for peace, prosperity and economic stability in Israel and the region at large.