As the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meets in Brussels, PLO Executive Committee Member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, calls on the donor community to put an end to the continued Israeli encroachment on Palestinian economic development, health and education services, as well as the general quality of life for the entire Palestinian civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
Dr. Ashrawi stated, “For decades, international assistance has been one of the crucial cornerstones of Palestinian perseverance and more recently, state-building against the odds. The Palestinian people and its leadership are deeply grateful for this invaluable assistance. But it must be clear to our generous donors that our goal is not to be dependent on their assistance indefinitely. Indeed, we call on the AHLC to ensure that the Israeli occupation, the root cause of our economic difficulties and the main source of our lost revenues, comes to an end.”
“For almost two decades the international community invested, through its assistance, in furthering the cause of peace by helping the Palestinian people prepare for statehood. A year ago, they confirmed that Palestine was institutionally ready to exercise its full right to self-determination and independence. Today, we call on the international donor community to protect their investment from the clear and present danger that on-going unilateral and illegal Israeli actions pose to our common goal of justice and peace. Without doing that, international assistance and its crucial role will end up only covering the cost of the Israeli occupation rather than achieving development and protecting the institutions of the independent state of Palestine, which is the only guarantee to peace in the Middle East.”
Dr. Ashrawi added, “The United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund have all submitted reports recognizing the Palestinian Authority’s remarkable achievements in the economy and development sectors. These reports also unanimously agree that the Israeli occupation and its illegal punishing measures is the single most important obstacle to Palestinian economic prosperity and stability. Thus, the goals driving international assistance will only be possible when this occupation ends.”
“It must be clear that for Israel to obstruct the implementation of a single Palestinian project is one obstruction too many. The AHLC should work on ending this unnatural situation of occupation and limitations and not discuss how to make it tolerable. It is neither tolerable nor sustainable.”
“The international community must exercise its moral and legal authority to do what is needed. Israel must be compelled to cease its violations of international law, including illegal settlement building and the construction of the apartheid wall, its annexation and ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem, military checkpoints, and its total power control over freedom of movement within the occupied Palestinian territories as well as to and from Palestine. Above all, Israel must take immediate steps to end its 45 year-long occupation,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.
For further information, please refer to both the PNA Position Paper submitted to Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee: Equitable Development: Moving Forward Despite the Occupation and the PLO NAD-NSU position paper: The Economic Costs of the Israeli Occupation