The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has rejected the "economic peace" proposal put forth by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The "economic peace" plan envisages Israeli moves to build economic prosperity in PLO enclaves in Judea and Samaria in exchange for security and calm in Israel's biblical heartland. It would also see the steady transfer of tax revenues to Ramallah from Jerusalem to ensure the Palestinian Authority, the governing body in the areas, could pay its salaries.
A previous short-lived freeze of tax revenues by Israel - amounting to some $100 million per month - sent the PA into a fiscal tailspin and led to cries from officials in Ramallah that the PA would have to shut its doors.
Nonetheless, PLO executive committee member Tayseer Khalid told Gulf News, "Israel will have no room to impose economic peace on Palestinians."
"We refuse to be security agents for Israel. This is neither the role of the PLO nor the Palestinian National Authority at all," he emphasized.
"The Jewish state is the only impediment to bilateral negotiations," he said. "The Palestinian leadership will not even consider the economic peace argument."
"We are discussing downgrading all our agreements with Israel," he added.
Khalid's comments come as senior PLO and Hamas officials meet in Cairo to discuss the viability of forming a unity government in Ramallah. The Hamas terror organization opposes all forms of cooperation with Israel.
Earlier on Wednesday, PLO member Wasel Abu Yousuf told reporters the PLO had decided on "a strategy based on continuous efforts along with the international community to secure full recognition and full United Nations membership, pursuing internal reconciliation, and keeping up the popular resistance."
While Yousuf did not define "popular resistance," regional observers note Article 9 of the PLO charter continues to assert, "Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.”
It also maintains “Palestine” is defined by the British Mandate and is “indivisible” – thus leaving no room for Israel to exist at all.
PLO officials have refused to amend their charter numerous times since the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed.