Israeli, Palestinian officials agree on medical cooperation

Israeli and Palestinian officials have agreed on medical services cooperation during a meeting held in Jerusalem, according to media reports

The joint meeting on Wednesday was the first of its kind since 2014 and gathered ministers of health and environmental protection from both sides, Xinhua news agency quoted Israel Radio as saying in a report.

Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kaila said in a statement that a technical ministerial meeting included teams from the Palestinian and Israeli health ministries, in the presence of her Israeli counterpart Nitzan Horowitz.

“The meeting dealt with a number of important health issues, including an agreement on cooperation in medical services between the two sides, mainly about combating the spread of coronavirus,” she added.

Al-Kaila also said that it was agreed to transfer patients from the Gaza Strip to get medical treatment at hospitals in the West Bank.

The meeting was held amid increasing high-level contacts between Israelis and the Palestinians after the new Israeli government was sworn in last month.

Last week, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that resident Mahmoud Abbas had received four phone calls from senior Israeli officials, including his newly-appointed counterpart Isaac Herzog.

Also on Wednesday, Israel announced that it will increase the number of work permits for Palestinians from the occupied West Bank by 16,000 to 105,000.

Peace talks between Israel and Palestine, which were sponsored by the US, stopped in April 2014 following deep disputes over settlement, security, and borders.