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As the turmoil in the Middle East worsens, the fate of the Palestinians seems to have been put on the diplomatic back burner.Shortly after Israel signed its 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres proposed a cross-border joint economic zone to solidify the agreement. This became the Jordan Gateway Industrial Park, a 346-acre special economic zone (SEZ) occupying the Israeli and Jordanian banks of the Jordan River near Haifa.This model should be expanded to include special political zones (SPZs) that erode divisions between Israelis and Palestinians. SPZs could be created along the borders between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. SPZ businesses could be owned by Israelis, Palestinians, or jointly, and workers would come from both sides of the divide.Established by Palestinian magnate Munib al-Masri and Israeli tech billionaire Yossi Vardi in July 2012, BTI has some 300 members, whose companies account for at least 30 percent of Israeli and Palestinian GDP.
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