Erekat rejects economic incentives proposed by PM

PA chief negotiator says Netanyahu is playing games and haggling: "If he wants to build confidence he should stop settlement construction."

By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 5, 2011 14:20
1 minute read.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

Saeb Erekat 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat on Saturday rejected a package of economic incentives proposed by Quartet Envoy Tony Blair and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday.

Palestinain news agency Ma'an quoted Erekat as saying Netanyahu was playing games and haggling.

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“What Netanyahu should do, if he wants to build confidence, is immediately stop settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and recognize a Palestinian state on the territories occupied in 1967,” Erekat said.

The steps announced by Netanyahu on Friday included Israeli permission, in principle, for several infrastructure projects in Gaza, including electricity and desalination plants.

Netanyahu also offered Friday to begin talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on developing a natural gas field off Gaza.

The prime minister also said he would allow the Palestinians to extend their security presence to more areas of the West Bank. For now, Abbas has limited control over only about 40 percent of the West Bank.

Netanyahu said the measures will help bring more stability and improve the lives of Palestinians, but are not a substitute to peace talks.

"I don't delude myself for a second that an economic peace is a substitute for political peace," Netanyahu said. "We need both and I hope that Abu Mazen [Abbas] will heed my call and enter direct negotiations with us."


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