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Israel Transfers to Palestinians Seven New Areas of Civilian Rule

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Israel has handed over to the Palestinians seven spheres of civil responsibility in the West Bank.

Sunday’s transfer of authority took place after the two sides signed an agreement for the handover last month in Cairo.

The seven new areas now under Palestinian control are: local government, statistics, fuel, labor, agriculture, trade and insurance.

An eighth sphere, postal responsibility, was not transferred because of remaining differences between the two sides over how it should be implemented.

Under the terms of a so-called “early empowerment” agreement between the two sides, Israel transferred to the Palestinians between August and December 1994 five other areas of civil responsibility in the West Bank – education, welfare, tourism, health and taxation.

The deputy head of the Israeli Civil Administration, David Bal-El, said Israel would provide some $4 million in the coming weeks to help the Palestinians launch its administration of those new areas of control.

After Sunday’s handover took place, four Palestinian mayors – including those of Jenin and Kalkilya – resigned because the Palestinian Authority said it planned to appoint new local councils in each of the towns.

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