In recent years Israeli and Palestinian businessmen have met several times in various forums to discuss future economic cooperation; but their discussions were held against the background of occupation and political stalemate. Now, following the Israel-PLO Agreement and the genuine prospect of creating a new economic relationship based on equality, the frequency of such encounters has dramatically increased. Dr. Samir Hazboun reports briefly 0/1 three recent meetings that he attended.

Brussels, October 11 • 13, 1993:
Israeli-Palestinian Experts Seminar

Israeli and Palestinian research teams presented an analysis of the Palestinian economy, emphasizing: employment, trade, agriculture, industry, finance, and the macro-economic benefits of peace. In the next phase the researchers hope to prepare specific proposals to strengthen the Palestinian economy and to benefit from regional cooperation.

Among the points made by the Palestinians:
• Some US$ll billion should be invested in the Palestinian economy by the end of the century.
• The Palestinians should reach an agreement with Jordan, before discussing free trade with Israel.
• The Palestinians should develop a strong infrastructure before establishing a monetary system.

Among the points made by the Israelis:
• Free trade will benefit both sides; but the smaller Palestinian economy stands to gain more.
• The Israelis and Palestinians will have to work with the Syrians, as well as the Lebanese and Jordanians.

Herzliya October 25, 1993:

Israeli President Ezer Weizman and Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Muhammad Bassiouny addressed the conference, and several Palestinian, Egyptian and Israeli experts presented papers on various aspects of energy in a situation of peace in the Middle East.
Israeli Energy Minister Shahal discussed the possibility of cooperation between Israelis, Palestinians and other Middle East countries in the
fields of gas and electricity. He also hinted that he would soon reach an agreement with an Arab country for the extension of a gas pipeline to Israel.
Other topics discussed were the importance of cooperation, the best ways of utilizing energy resources, and controlling environmental pollution.

Jerusalem, October 30 - November I, 1993:

Attended by more than 1,000 Israeli, Palestinian, and international businessmen, including a party of 14 entrepreneurs from Morocco - the conference was addressed by the Israeli Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. Apart from the sessions, there were numerous informal meetings between businessmen, discussing possible deals, cooperation, and joint projects. A concrete development announced at the meeting was the establishment of "The Peace Company", a joint Spanish-Israeli-¬Palestinian concern by Israel's KOOR Industries, Banco Nacional Espaniol de Credito, and prominent Palestinian businessman, Jwayyed al-Ghussein. The new company plans to develop a variety of enterprises on a global scale, on lines similar to KOOK
Among the topics discussed were the Middle East as a New International Business Center, Tourism in an Era of Peace, Investment in the Palestinian Economy, and Israel's New Capital Market in the Era of Peace.
In his forward-looking speech, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres presented four possible models of future regional cooperation:

• An Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian "triangle," with a common market and no trade or labor barriers, sharing Lake Tiberias, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and the resources of the southern deserts.
• A Benelux-type structure, where Israel, Palestine and Jordan maintain political independence, but pursue a common economic policy.
• Two markets: al-Maghreb, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya; al-Mashreq, including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine.
• One market comprising 21 Arab states, Israel, Iran and Turkey.

Peres called for the reduction of military spending by all countries of the region, utilization of the media to promote economic cooperation, fighting desertification by better management of water resources and introduction of new technologies, development of regional tourism, creation of new industries, and enhancement of the existing infrastructure.