Israeli officials are reporting a new offer has been made to the Palestinian Authority to give up on attempting to secure any international recognition of statehood, promising to free some 50 detainees and to allow them to develop natural gas fields off the Gaza coast.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office also demanded that the Palestinians rule out ever seeking UN recognition again, saying that if they ever try to unilaterally seek statehood they will consider it a “grave violation.”
The gas fields could potentially be a lucrative source of income for the PA, worth an estimated $4 billion. It should be noted that the PA would only be entitled to 10 percent of the money, as Israel has already granted the majority of the rights to British Gas.
Indeed, British Gas’ rights to the gas field have been controversial over the past several years, with hawkish Israeli officials sometimes accusing others of not supporting Gaza invasions (or as many Gaza invasions) in an effort not to ruin the deal with BG.
An interesting aside to such a high profile offer is that apparently Israel never actually called PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat to forward the message to him, as he expressed surprise at the reports.