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Quartet to PA: Resume talks, develop gas reserves

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 Wassel Abu-Youssef, a member of the PLO’s executive committee and the Palestinian representative to the exploratory talks with Israel in Jordan said Thursday that the Quartet has put together an incentives package that would build trust between the sides and jumpstart the stalled peace process

The Quartet of international Mideast mediators includes the US, the UN, the European Union and Russia.
The outline calls on Israel to allow public Palestinian police presence in Area B in the West Bank, which is under Israeli security control and Palestinian administrative control. In addition, the outline states that Israel will ease restrictions on Palestinian traffic in the West Bank, more working permits will be issued to Palestinians who work in Israel and Jerusalem will allow the export of goods from Gaza to the West Bank.
During the second phase of the Quartet’s plan, which is scheduled for implementation in March, Israel will release Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian Authority will be authorized to develop gas reserves off Gaza’s coastline, the IDF’s activity in Area A will be reduced and Israel will permit the launching of international projects in Area C.
In return, the Palestinians were asked to come back to the negotiations without demanding Israel to freeze settlement construction or recognize the 1967 borders as the foundation for the talks.
Abu-Youssef said that Abbas has opposed the UN chief’s proposal, saying that the PA won’t resume the talks until the aforementioned preconditions are met. The negotiator noted, however, that Abbas hasn’t outright rejected the plan. The Palestinians are expected to formulate their position on the matter during an Arab League monitoring committee meeting next week. Jordan is pressing both sides to meet again to discuss the renewal of the talks.

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