Talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are taking place behind closed doors, but Israel’s “good-will gestures” to the PA are hard to hide. Following the agreement to release 104 terrorists, including convicted murderers, the government is now reportedly planning to grant thousands of new work permits to PA residents.
According to Yisrael Hayom, the cabinet will vote Sunday on a plan to allow Israeli employers to hire a total of 5,000 more PA residents.
As of 2011, over 10 percent of PA residents who were employed were working for Israelis. Of those, over 10,000 worked for Israelis in Judea and Samaria (Shomron).
A PA campaign that year to force PA residents to quit their jobs working for Israelis in Judea and Samaira died a quiet death as the PA’s ongoing financial crisis left it unable to absorb the economic blow of adding over 10,000 workers to the ranks of the unemployed.
The current round of Israel-PA talks has reportedly hit a snag due to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ insistence that negotiations begin with an offer made by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Israel negotiators have reportedly offered new Israel-PA land swaps that are not based on Olmert’s proposal.
In addition, the PA has reportedly rejected an Israeli proposal for a PA state with temporary borders. A PA official who spoke to AP accused Israel of offering a state now as part of a plan to maintain Israeli control over land outside the temporary borders.
According to the official, under the proposal, Israel would have agreed to deport thousands of Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria, and hand over their properties to local Arabs. The offer, however, was not deemed by the PA as going far enough.
The leaked details regarding the talks were made by Palestinian Authority officials despite an agreement between Israel, the PA and the US not to publicize details of the ongoing negotiations until the conclusion of the current round of talks, in nine months' time.
Last month, the PA's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, told an Arabic radio station that the US has guaranteed the PA all of its key preconditions in advance of negotiations.
The Palestinian Authority has also stood accused of spreading misinformation regarding the progress of negotiations, after a spokesman claimed talks had been cancelled following the death of three Arab rioters during an attack on Israeli security forces.
Shortly afterwards it was revealed that the talks had been unaffected by the incident and had continued as scheduled.