PA rejects Israeli offer to be part of regional railway network: official

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RAMALLAH, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- A senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official unveiled on Friday that the PA rejected an Israeli offer to be part of a regional railway network that links the West Bank with Israel and other Arab capitals.

Hussein al-Sheikh, minister of civil affairs in the PA, tweeted on his Twitter page that the Israeli offer includes establishing a railway line that connects the northern West Bank city of Jenin with Haifa in Israel and then goes to several Arab capitals.

"We totally rejected the Israeli offer and we said we are against normalization with Israel before the end of the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank," said al-Sheikh, adding "We also said no for economic solutions that empower the occupation."

He went on saying that "a piece of bread can never be an alternative to the freedom of homelands," referring to the Palestinian rejection to any economic solutions to the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinian leadership, which signed a series of peace accords with Israel since 1993, insists that any peace process should guarantee an end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

In April 2017, Israeli Minister of Transportation Yesrael Katz announced that Israel has been working on a plan of establishing a railway in Israel that connects with railways in Arab states, through Jordan.

According to the Israeli plan, the railway connects Israel with Arab countries and connects the Palestinians with the Israeli seaport of Haifa to boost the PA trade movement in the West Bank.

Katz had stated that his plan aims at establishing a regional railway network "for achieving a real regional peace that would lead to economic prosperity that serves the people in the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinians." Enditem

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