Israeli, PA Ministers Meet in Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM, Israel - For the first time since the Netanyahu government was installed last March, Israeli and Palestinian ministers met in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom, who also serves as vice prime minister, met with PA Economics Minister Bassem Khoury.

Following a one-on-one meeting between the two ministers at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, members of the joint economic committee joined them.

MKs (members of Knesset) from Israel's Foreign, Defense, Industry and Trade, Justice and Finance ministries will attend the meeting.

Under the umbrella of advancing economic cooperation between Israel and the PA, participants discussed ways of minimizing bureaucratic red tape. Some of the areas addressed were facilitating entry for Palestinian businessmen and women and medical care for Palestinians in Israel, and moving forward with joint projects, such as industrial parks, that will benefit both parties.

"I am glad that the Palestinians have realized that boycotting meetings with Israel and its government are harmful first and foremost to them," Shalom told reporters before the meeting.

"I have said in the past that our goal is to achieve economic peace and this does not prevent political dialogue, but enhances it," he said.

Following Wednesday's meeting, the ministers agreed to meet monthly. 

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