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January 30, 2018 1:19 pm

Israel’s Finance Minister to Meet Palestinian Prime Minister to Boost Economic Cooperation and Push for Negotiations

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Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/Pool. – Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon will meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in an effort to boost economic cooperation, according to Israeli media reports.

The premise behind the meeting, which would follow a meeting between Kahlon and US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, is that the US and Israel believe economic cooperation is a key component of any peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. This will be the first meeting between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials in several months. Kahlon will reportedly urge Hamdallah to consider participating in US-brokered peace negotiations.

Palestinian leaders boycotted the recent visit to Israel by Vice President Michael Pence, in response to President Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his intent to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

At last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, during a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump warned that the PA might pay a significant price for failing to cooperate with the US.

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“They disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support,” Trump said. “That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”

Earlier this month, PA President Mahmoud Abbas launched a tirade against Trump, saying “may your house be destroyed” and declaring that the Palestinians “will not accept for the US to be a mediator…after what they have done to us.”

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