Several months of secret meetings between Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resulted in an agreement reached on Tuesday evening that Steinitz hailed as “an important step in strengthening the economic ties between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
A Finance Ministry press release said the agreement will help foster trade between Israel and the PA, as well as to help strengthen the Palestinian tax system and strengthen its financial base. Additionally, the agreement will enable both sides to more effectively fight smuggling and tax evasion.
The new arrangements will go into effect on January 1, 2013, and will be monitored by a joint team of Israeli and Palestinian experts, according to the press release.
“The new arrangements are part of our overall stated policy to support the Palestinian society and to strengthen their economy,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He added that the agreement will “hopefully further our relations with the Palestinians in other areas as well.”
Fayyad said that the agreements “will help to strengthen the economic base of the Palestinian Authority.. .also improve the economic relations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.”