RAMALLAH, September 24, 2018 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is going to stress to international donors meeting on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly conference in New York this week that ending the 50-year old Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip will help growth in the Palestinian economy.
The Palestinian cabinet, which met in Ramallah on Monday in its weekly meeting as Hamdallah prepares to leave for New York to attend the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting, which will be held in New York on Wednesday, said in a statement that it discussed the upcoming meeting and warned that the Israeli government‘s continued occupation is the biggest obstacle to economic growth in Palestine.
It said Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, seizure of Palestinian natural resources and restrictions in Area C, which makes more than 60 percent of the area of the West Bank and which is under full Israeli military control, military incursions into Palestinian cities, daily arrests and a policy of apartheid as well as Israeli control over the Palestinian economy makes recovery and economic growth very difficult.
It said that despite achievements by the government in managing public funds, increasing revenues, reducing the fiscal deficit and private sector debt, decline in foreign aid during the past years which reached 70%, and the implementation of development plans in several sectors such as education, health, social security, energy and communications, “it does not necessarily mean getting out of the financial crisis.”
It said that “ending the Israeli occupation, restoring Palestinian rights and ensuring a bright future for the Palestinian people in their independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders is the basis for economic growth.”
But until that happens, it added, “the international community is required to provide financial support to the budget and increase it to the Palestinian government, as well as provide for more development projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through the government and in coordination with it and fulfill the previous financial pledges in favor of many developmental projects, particularly in completing the reconstruction in Gaza, noting that the government has completed more than 92% of the reconstruction of what was destroyed by the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, in addition to supporting Area C of the West Bank, especially in the city of Jerusalem, and emphasizing the need to deal with Palestine as a whole and not to divide it into Gaza strip and West Bank, including Jerusalem, to provide support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and to compel the government of Israel to rectify the outstanding economic and financial issues that the AHLC had requested from Israel at its meeting last year but that the Israeli government is still procrastinating in making any progress regarding them.”
The AHLC is a 15-member committee that serves as the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for development assistance to the Palestinian people. The AHLC is chaired by Norway and co-sponsored by the EU and US.