New concessions from Israel, Palestinians intended to improve negotiating climate

( AP )- Israel pledged to remove some West Bank roadblocks as a start to "concrete steps" in an agreement with the Palestinians that is aimed at paving the way for a final peace deal this year.

Under the plan that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced Sunday, Israel will remove about 50 roadblocks and upgrade checkpoints to speed up the movement of Palestinians through the West Bank.

The Israelis also will give Palestinians more security responsibility in the town of Jenin with an eye toward looking at "other areas in turn." They also pledged to increase the number of travel and work permits for Palestinians and to support economic projects in Palestinian towns.

In return, the Palestinians promised to improve policing of Jenin "to provide law and order, and work to prevent terror," according to a State Department statement.

Rice, visiting the region for the second time this month in hopes of energize faltering talks, said the moves "constitute a very good start to improving" a Palestinian economy crippled by the Israeli restrictions.

Later Sunday in the Jordanian capital, Rice heard a warning from King Abdullah II that failure to achieve peace progress "would threaten the region's future, and in turn deepen the sense of despair and widen the circle of violence." He spoke of the importance of "intensifying American efforts" and said Palestinians "must also be able to experience an improvement in their economic conditions."

In Jerusalem, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad consented to what the U.S. termed "concrete steps" at a joint meeting with Rice. They agreed "on points of special, immediate emphasis and work," the statement said.

"We've been told that this is going to start and, hopefully even be completed in a relatively short period of time," Rice told reporters. "I am expecting it to happen very, very soon."

"We will be monitoring and verifying," she added.

The agreement includes:

_removing 50 travel barriers in and around Jenin , Tulkarem , Qalqiliya and Ramallah ; they are major Palestinian towns in the northern and central West Bank.

_dismantling of one permanent roadblock.

_deploying 700 Jordanian-trained Palestinian police in Jenin and allowing them to take delivery of armored vehicles. Jenin is known as a stronghold of Palestinian militants and has been a frequent site of clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen.

_raising the number of Palestinian businessmen allowed into Israel to 1,500 from 1,000.

_increasing the number of work permits for Palestinian laborers by 5,000 from its current number of 18,500.

_building new housing for Palestinians in 25 villages.

_connecting Palestinian villages to the Israeli power grid.

_Israeli support for large-scale economic development programs and encouragement of foreign investment.

Neither Barak nor Fayyad commented on the developments when they appeared at a brief photo opportunity with Rice after their meeting.

One Palestinian official said he welcomed any improvement, but that Israel's moves were "too little, too late."

"We want Israel to move quickly in removing these obstacles that make no sense and make the lives of the Palestinians difficult," said Samir Abdullah, the Palestinian planning minister.

Israel maintains hundreds of checkpoints, roadblocks and other travel restrictions in the West Bank, and says they are needed to stop suicide bombers. The Palestinians say the restrictions are excessive and have stifled their economy. They have made removal of the checkpoints a priority as the two sides, with U.S. backing, try to negotiate a peace agreement by year's end.

Rice had said she was looking for "meaningful" steps to put in place the stalled U.S.-supported plan that envisions the creation of an independent Palestinian state through concessions on both sides.

"There has not been enough momentum," she said. "This is a start in terms of delivering on some of those obligations."

Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert , and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas , restarted peace talks at a U.S.-hosted summit last November, after seven years of fighting.

Despite the pledge to reach a final deal by year's end, negotiators have made no visible progress, and Olmert has warned that Israel cannot carry out any agreement as long as the Hamas militant group controls the Gaza Strip.

Hamas , which is committed to Israel's destruction and opposes the peace talks, seized control of Gaza from Abbas ' forces last June. The Palestinians hope to establish an independent state that includes the West Bank and Gaza, which lie on opposite sides of Israel.

In Amman, Jordan, Rice held separate sessions later Sunday with Abbas and the king. A statement by the royal palace said Abdullah pointed to Israel's "continued policy of unilateralism, particularly its practices in Jerusalem and settlement expansion, as real impediments to international and regional efforts to achieve peace."

The U.S.-backed peace blueprint calls on Israel to halt all settlement activity in the West Bank. As for a deal on Jerusalem, the Israeli government has emphasized its claim to the city by announcing plans to build hundreds of new homes in east Jerusalem neighborhoods built after 1967.

On Monday, Rice planned a three-way meeting with the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni , who is leading the Israeli negotiating team, and the Palestinian's chief negotiator Ahmed Qureia . Rice later will head back to Amman for further talks with Abbas .

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 1
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 1
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for November 30
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for November 30
Iranian currency rates for November 30
Iranian currency rates for November 30
Loading Bars
Latest
Afghanistan's GDP likely to drop 20 pct in one year: UN
UAE reports its first case of COVID-19 variant Omicron
Moderna exec says company could have Omicron booster ready in March
UN says international migration rose last year despite Covid-19 impact
Kyrgyz border service reports shots from Tajikistan
Bennett declares ‘Yamam’ Israel’s national counterterrorism force
Transport infrastructure in Karabakh to turn Azerbaijan into logistics hub between Central Asia and Europe – CAERC
Four injured after old WWII aircraft bomb explodes in Munich - police
1st US case of COVID-19 omicron variant identified - Fauci
OPEC can elect new secretary general in January 2022 — source
President Erdogan talks bilateral relations with Crown Prince of UAE
Georgia to receive special PCR tests to detect new Omicron variant of coronavirus
Qatar Airways to launch flights to Uzbekistan from Jan 17, 2022
Iran military clashes with armed men on Afghan border
Armenia found itself in complete military-political isolation even within CSTO - Russian military expert
Net foreign assets in Azerbaijan grow for 10M2021
New geopolitical situation in region opens way for Azerbaijan’s further development - ambassador
Ambassador of Kazakhstan expresses condolences to Azerbaijan due to helicopter crash
Azerbaijan working on reconstruction railway line which is part of Zangazur corridor (PHOTO)
SOCAR’s STAR refinery tests numerous types of crude oil
Azerbaijan considering sending medical workers of Baku clinics to district hospitals
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,795 more COVID-19 cases, 1,967 recoveries
Azerbaijani National Depository Center opens tender to buy new generation security system
Georgia boosts honey exports
Solar PV growth to surpass wind in EU in 2021-2026
Servicemen injured in Azerbaijani helicopter crash talk about incident (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkmen company exports paper products to Uzbekistan, Turkey
Iranian companies express readiness to restore factories in Syria - minister
Azerbaijani, Armenian FMs to meet in Sweden
President Ilham Aliyev receives EU Special Representative for South Caucasus (PHOTO/VIDEO)
US Marshall Legacy Institute sends eight more mine detection dogs to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Azerbaijani agency shares data for mine detection, clearing work in liberated territories
Central Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to insure fixed assets
Azerbaijan’s 10M2021 oil exports to Spain revealed
Uzbek Statistics Committee shares data on volume of retail trade turnover
Georgian medics advise reconsidering COVID-19 passports issuance
Overview of Uzbekistan's volume of wholesale trade turnover dynamics between 2010-2020
Price indexes of construction, trade sectors at Uzbek stock exchange fall
Georgia, IMF discuss new co-op program
Prices for goods and services in consumer market of Uzbekistan rise
Turkey’s diesel fuel exports to Georgia down
Georgia, NATO discuss further co-op and Black Sea security
Iran bans import of musical instruments due to lack of foreign exchange resources
Turkmen ministry prolongs tender for supply of metal blanks
IRENEX shares data on sales of Tabriz Oil Refining Company
Activities in Iran’s Imam Khomeini port down
Star Refinery satisfies about quarter of Turkey's refined petroleum product needs - CEO
Kazakhstan’s oil and gas company opens tender to supply fittings
Mobile phones rank first in Iran’s total imports - IRICA
Turkmenistan’s education ministry extends tender for setting drip irrigation system
Oil minister tells president, parliament that Iran's oil exports 'significantly grow'
Azerbaijan, Pakistan talk prospects for development of military co-op (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's SOCAR Polymer exports increase over 10M2021
Iran unveils volume of dates export
Iran’s CBI reveals data on balance of bank loans
EU to exceed current renewable capacity plans for 2030
Azerbaijan reveals oil exports to Italy in 10M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on oil export to Croatia in 10M2021
Baku Metro provides ‘November 8’ station with backup power supply (Exclusive) (PHOTO)
Renewable electricity generation to exceed average annual growth rate of 2015-2020
Expansion of bioenergy for power capacity to slow down
Renewable energy capacity to expand by 2026, says IEA
Azerbaijan talks ongoing work to provide electricity to liberated Lachin district
Special representative of Azerbaijan's President in liberated territories within Karabakh economic region appointed
German Ambassador expresses condolences to Azerbaijan over deadly helicopter crash
Iran, Syria sign four cooperation agreements
Iran to invest in Syrian industrial towns
Austria extends COVID-19 lockdown by 10 days
Branch of Azerbaijan’s Balakhani Operating Company opens tender to buy pipes, pumps
Baku electric company opens tender to buy materials for lamp posts repair
Organization of social zone of Aghdam Industrial Park completes in Azerbaijan – minister
Deputy Prime Ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia to meet in Moscow today
Azerbaijan’s Azerishig opens tender for reconstruction of substation in Sumgayit
Kazakhstan increases trade with India over 9M2021
Nar continues to grow IT professionals (PHOTO)
India provides medical, humanitarian aid to over 150 countries to deal with COVID-19: MEA
Georgia receives COVID-19 support grant from German Development Bank
Turkey-Azerbaijan trade turnover grows in October 2021
Kazakhstan reports increase in maritime transport volumes
SOCAR Petroleum to open new petrol station in Azerbaijan’s Gubadli district
SOCAR Georgia Gas increases gas tariffs
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 1
Azerbaijan discloses data on oil exports to Israel
Georgian cities receive EU grant for cultural development
Saudi Arabia reports first Omicron case coming from north Africa
Georgian FM expresses condolences for lives lost in crash of military helicopter
PMO records increase in cargo movements in Iranian ports
Turkey’s BOTAS increases gas imports
Hungary launches Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programm
Russia working out celebration program for 30th anniversary of ties with Azerbaijan - MFA
Burial ceremony of Azerbaijani helicopter crash victims held in second Alley of Martyrs (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgian Embassy expresses condolences to Azerbaijan on helicopter crash
Iran to prepare budget bill with highest economic growth estimates - President Raisi
Construction and installation work under completion at Azerbaijan’s Khojasan metro station (PHOTO)
Dynamics of OPEC+ production in 2021-2023
Share of Iranian government in earnings from crude oil exports to decrease – Official
Some try to use helicopter crash for political purposes - Azerbaijan's prosecutor general (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan lost comrades - head of Azerbaijani State Border Service on helicopter crash
All news