Israel agreed to talk with the European Union over the economic situation of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip stipulating that settlements issue not to be discussed.
“Israel told the European Union last week that it is willing to open talks about the economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday quoting a senior Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“The EU wanted to discuss settlement construction and steps that might jeopardize the two-state solution,” the official said, adding that Israel clarified that it is only ready to discuss improving the economic situation in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.
The first round of negotiations will be held in next September.
According to the official, Israel would negotiate issues offered by the EU in the past including infrastructure projects for Palestinians in Area C regions in the occupied West Bank.
The occupied West Bank was divided into three administrative parts - Area A, Area B, Area C - according to the Oslo II Record
According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories B’Tselem report in 2013, some 60 percent of West Bank lands have been classified as “Area C” and are under full and exclusive Israeli control.
Some 180,000 Palestinians live in Area C. Israel prohibits Palestinians for construction and development on an estimated 70 percent of the Area C territory ignoring the needs of the residents.
Israel defines 70 percent of the area as within settler municipal boundaries.
Israel also refuses recognising most of the villages in the area and demolishes Palestinians’ homes.
The inhabitants live under the threat of demolition in alleged firing zones.
Most of the water sources in the region have been taken by Israel and can not be accessed by Palestinians.
According to the World Bank, the effect has been to cause a potential loss of an estimated $14 billion of revenue for the Palestinian economy.
West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered as “occupied territories” by international law.
However, 500,000 Israelis have been living in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements, which is illegal, since Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.