RAMALLAH, Monday, September 26, 2022 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said today that no matter what economic reforms are carried out by the Palestinian Authority, with the occupation still in place, the financial crisis is bound to continue.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah on the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting of donor countries held in New York on Saturday, Shtayyeh said he reviewed during the meeting, in which 30 countries and international institutions participated, the violations and measures of the occupying power against the Palestinian people, their land, economy and resources, as well as the administrative, financial and institutional reforms undertaken by the Palestinian Authority.
“We told the donors that no matter what reforms we undertake, this will not put an end to the financial crisis because the occupation is the root of the crisis, and it is the main problem,” he said. “Without ending the occupation, some of the steps will be difficult to implement, and the economic situation will remain difficult,” he added, stressing that the reform plan presented by his government was welcomed in the meeting.
Shtayyeh said the reports submitted to the meeting showed that the unemployment rate decreased from 26% to 24%, where it became 44% in the Gaza Strip, while it decreased in the West Bank to 13.8%. Some reports, he added, expected that the Palestinian economy would achieve a growth of about 3.5% by the end of this year, and spending this year remained at the level of spending last year, while the monetary and banking system continues to recover from the Corona pandemic, which indicates the strength of the Palestinian banking system.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the donors stressed that Israel should stop the piracy of Palestinian funds and deductions from the clearing house, and also demanded that it grant freedom to work for Palestinians in the so-called Area C of the occupied West Bank because this boosts the Palestinian economy by a third, and increases government revenues by 6% of the gross domestic product.
He stressed that all the efforts exerted by the Palestinian government in the economic sector will not be sufficient without getting rid of the occupation and its measures on the ground, including lifting the siege on Gaza and Jerusalem, and stopping Israel's piracy of the Palestinian money.
“Despite the Israeli deductions, the decline in donor funds from 30% of the gross domestic product in 2008 to 1% in 2021, the Palestinian economy remained resistant, effective and resilient,” Shtayyeh said.
“We called on those present at the meeting to pressure the occupation government to honor the signed agreements, to stop its violations and destruction of the two-state solution, to continue the financial and political support, and to preserve the two-state solution through serious and actual steps, and to oblige Israel to do so,” he said.
“Whoever claims to believe in the two-state solution must stop settlements, lift the siege on Gaza, and open Jerusalem for its people, end its siege, and stop the repeated storming by settlers (of Al-Aqsa Mosque) that reached a high point this morning,” he added.