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Palestinians: Kerry’s Economics Not Enough –Need Political Gains First

Responding to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement of a plan to find a $4 billion infusion into the Palestinian Authority’s economy, the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas said it would not accept “political concessions in exchange for economic benefits.” In a statement from Abbas economic adviser Mohammad Mustafa, it was stated that, “We will not accept that the economy is the primary and sole component. We wish it to be part of a political framework that will ensure the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem its capital and the rights of refugees and a reference to a political solution — these are the priorities.” The plan Kerry unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Jordan on Sunday called for $4 billion to be invested in tourism construction, predicting significant impact on the GDP and unemployment. Kerry’s efforts have so far been unable to break the 4 ½ year deadlock on direct Israeli-Palestinian talks as Abbas demands that Israel agree to begin the talks having accepted a return to pre-1967 borders, east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, agreement on refugees and the release of a number of prisoners. Israel rejects preconditions, arguing that the issues are for discussion at the bargaining table. It was revealed on Tuesday that Israeli negotiators including the Prime Minister’s personal envoy and Minister Tzipi Livni flew secretly to Amman for a meeting with SecState Kerry who in turn held a one-on-one session with Mahmoud Abbas, also in Amman. Kerry had said previously that he is now waiting for answers from Netanyahu and Abbas.