The Israeli measures, announced on Feb. 4 and immediately rejected by
the PA, came ahead of a meeting by the Quartet to review international
efforts to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank in 2012. The
Quartet has urged Israel to facilitate PA projects in both the West Bank as
well as Jerusalem.
"In respect to east Jerusalem, the government of Israel has agreed to
encourage the implementation of all projects that abide by municipal
regulations that will improve infrastructure there for Palestinians,
including, in particular, housing, starting with two projects in east
Jerusalem," Blair said.
Blair also reported Israeli approval for the PA to expand throughout the
West Bank, particularly in areas under military control, Middle East Newsline reported. He said PA security
forces would be deployed in seven towns in the so-called Area B, where
Israel retains security responsibility with the Palestinians limited to
The PA would also be granted civilian responsibility in Area C, where
Israel has retained full control. Blair said the PA would oversee
the construction of schools and clinics.
Another Israeli measure was the formal transfer of Palestinians from the
Gaza Strip to the West Bank. Blair said Israel would approve the
registration of 5,000 Gaza residents who already live in the West Bank.
The Netanyahu government also agreed to discuss a PA request to develop
an offshore natural gas field off the Gaza Strip. The British-based BP has
signed an agreement for the development of gas reserves in the
Mediterranean, and Israel was expected to be a leading customer.
"I think this is good for stability, good for prosperity, good for
peace," Netanyahu said.