Binyamin Ben Eliezer and Hasan Abu Libda 311.
(photo credit: Assaf Shilo/Israel Sun photo)
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer visited the Jalama checkpoint, between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Monday, during a tour of the site of a proposed joint Israeli-Palestinian industrial zone.
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Ben-Eliezer said that in the future such industrial zones could help advance cooperation between the two peoples and strengthen the diplomatic process.
Ben-Eliezer toured the site as a guest of Gilboa Regional Council head Danny Atar, who in recent years has forged strong ties with his Palestinian counterpart, the governor of Jenin, in an effort to advance joint economic projects.
“We in the national leadership can learn from the local leadership here on the ground.
Danny Atar and the governor of Jenin are proving that the reality and a
common interest in cooperating daily on economic issues are stronger
than anything,” said Ben-Eliezer.
Commenting on the diplomatic process, Ben-Eliezer said that both sides
must stop looking to the past and start facing questions about the
“I am very optimistic that next week’s meeting... will not be just a
photo opportunity, but the start of a sincere negotiations process. The
negotiation partners, together with the moderate Arab world, understand
that the changes taking place in the Middle East with the nuclearization
of Iran and the instability of the region, force us to complete the
Palestinian issue soon,” Ben-Eliezer said.
The minister stressed the importance of economic ties between the peoples and their role in advancing peace.
“One of the issues that came up in my meeting with Palestinian National
Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libda a couple of weeks ago was the
advancement of the joint industrial zones,” Ben-Eliezer said.
“I hope that together with the start of direct negotiations, we can
promote the joint industrial zones, so that in the end there will only
be fences to mark the border, and that good neighborly relations and
economies that cooperate and complement each other will prevail.”