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The Palestinians described the project, which would take place close to a small oil field in Israel, as a key step toward developing the local economy and gaining independence in the West Bank.Mohammad Mustafa, the Palestinian deputy prime minister for economic affairs, said the Palestinians were seeking proposals from international firms to explore and develop oil in the northern West Bank.The Palestinian announcement could open up a new area of protracted negotiations with Israel. International bodies, including the World Bank, have urged Israel to lift restrictions on Palestinian development in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank.Giora Eiland, acting chief executive of Israeli oil firm Givot Olam, declined to comment on the Palestinian plan, but said his company "absolutely" did not take any oil from the Palestinian side.
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