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Palestinians refuse U.S. idea to revive talks through economy


09:21, April 15, 2013

RAMALLAH, April 14 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian negotiator on Sunday refused Washington's idea of reviving the peace talks with Israel based on a plan to stimulate the West Bank's economy.

"There is no economic peace," said the negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who was commenting on Israeli media's recent reports that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had told Israeli officials that he would depend on economy in his mission to resume the negotiations, which stopped in 2010.

The Maariv Hebrew daily reported that Kerry informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Washington's vision, saying that an improvement in the economy would create an atmosphere helpful on the political level.

"This is impossible because the question is purely political and the economy is only part of the economy," Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio.

The Palestinians have said that Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, Israel's control of exports and imports and on different occasions withholding Palestinian tax revenues all prevent the economy from making progress.

Erekat said the peace talks require a series of Israeli obligations in political, security and economical fields, and this involves the release of Palestinian prisoners who were detained since before 1994, stopping Jewish settlement activities, halting army raids and giving the Palestinian forces more control over the West Bank.

Kerry's latest trip to the region last week was his second in a matter of weeks, and the third in a row by U.S. leaders as Barack Obama also visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in March.

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