Israel Mulls Goodwill Gestures To Palestinian Authority
August 17, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
JERUSALEM, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Senior members of Israel’s defense establishment recommend a series of goodwill gestures to the Palestinian Authority before September, an official said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak proposed the plan in a move designed to convince Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to back down from seeking unilateral statehood recognition at the United Nations next month, the online Ynetnews.com and The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.
“This would be a way to get the Palestinians to understand that they have a lot to gain by working together with us, as opposed to making unilateral moves,” an unnamed defense official told the Post.
Among the issues up for discussion are the removal of West Bank roadblocks, increasing the number of Palestinian workers permitted to enter Israel, issuing special permits to Israelis that would permit them to enter Palestinian areas and the possible release of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israel, the Post said.
Ynetnews.com said another idea under consideration is to increase the number of weapons for Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.
A number of government ministers oppose the idea, instead demanding sanctions and other steps be imposed on the Palestinian Authority in response to their unilateral statehood efforts, the Post said.
Barak warned that sanctions or other similar penalties could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, the newspaper said.
Israel’s chief of staff, Lt.Gen. Benny Gantz, and Yoram Cohen, head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), favor the plan, the Post said.