Israelis, Palestinians aim for final deal: Kerry

2013-09-26 10:55
US Secretary of State John Kerry, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. (File, AFP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. (File, AFP) (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

United Nations - Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to intensify peace talks aimed at reaching a final agreement, not an interim accord, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

The two sides met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York at a conference of donors looking for ways to revive the fragile Palestinian economy.

Speaking before the closed-door meeting known as the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Kerry said the goal of talks between Israel and the Palestinians is a "final status agreement," not an interim one.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and he plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in Washington.

Both sides expressed their commitment to the peace talks at the Ad Hoc meeting and noted the determination of the US, and Kerry in particular, to move the process along.

"This is a 50-year-old conflict, and it's inevitable that we have to find closure to it," Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said. "It's impossible to continue as is."

The new Palestinian new finance minister called Wednesday's economic talks "very, very successful".

Income gap

The donor meeting asked Israel to ease some of the restrictions that have hurt employment, trade and other crucial areas of the Palestinian economy.

An International Monetary Fund staff report on West Bank and Gaza economies released last week said extensive Israeli restrictions on movement and access should be eased and eventually removed.

The donors on Wednesday also asked the Palestinians to rein in expenditures and take steps to "develop a business-friendly environment." They are facing a $350m financing gap projected for this year.

The Palestinians depend heavily on aid from donors - about $1.3bn this year, or the equivalent of nearly 12% of annual gross domestic product. But the aid has been falling in recent years, along with optimism over peace.

Both sides appeared unusually upbeat after Wednesday's meeting, despite the challenges. And they acknowledged they have little time to be otherwise.

"We are particularly conscious of the fact that we can't build a state that almost totally depends on foreign grants," Bishara told reporters after the meeting.

But he stressed: "We have to ensure that one state is close in its standard of living to the other state." The income gap between Israel and the Palestinians remains vast.

Israeli Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz called the meeting "positive" and said a "strong, viable Palestinian economy" helps to create a better political climate - as long as Israeli security needs are not damaged.

Both sides have resumed dialogue between finance ministers, Steinitz said. Other moves include another 5 000 employment permits for Palestinians and allowing more water and construction and cellular equipment into the Gaza Strip.

Read more on:    imf  |  mahmoud abbas  |  john kerry  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  barack obama  |  israel  |  palestine  |  middle east peace

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.