The Palestinian Authority is blocking Israel from making significant economic gestures and from advancing the overall peace process, complained Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom on Wednesday.
At a ministerial committee meeting during which it was decided to extend the opening hours of the border crossing between PA-controlled Samaria and Jordan, Shalom said, "Israel wants to promote economic peace, and I am calling for increased cooperation from the Palestinians."
Shalom noted that for years a number of economic projects that would provide a major boost to the Palestinians' quality of life have been delayed because of the Palestinian leadership's refusal to work with Israel.
That lack of cooperation was gotten much worse since the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu's insistence on Palestinian reciprocity and on testing the Palestinians' willingness to live in true peace by first moving forward on an economic track has resulted in Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas refusing to meet with him. Abbas' subordinates have followed his example, or his orders, and likewise refuse to meet with their Israeli counterparts.
The Palestinians insist that the only part of the peace process that matters to them is the Israeli surrender of lands they claim as their own. That position would seem to belie Palestinian claims that their terrorist behavior is a direct result of their economic conditions.
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