The Palestinians are ready for statehood, according to a report to be presented to major aid donor countries in Brussels this week by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
He was expected to present facts and figures to show how his Palestinian Authority has used hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance over the past two years to create justice, education, energy, health, water, security and housing services.
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"I believe that our governing institutions have now reached a high state
of readiness to assume all the responsibilities that will come with
full sovereignty on the entire Palestinian occupied territory," Fayyad
said in the 63-page document.
But he underlined that unless the IDF's presence in the West Bank comes
to an end, these accomplishments can only achieve so much.
"Without a change to the status quo, the positive impact of internal
reforms to build a strong and healthy economy will be limited in both
scope and sustainability," the report says.
Palestinian leaders have said they aim to ask the United Nations General
Assembly in September for recognition of statehood on all of the
territory Israel took in the 1967 Six Day War, including Gaza -- over
which Fayyad and PA President Mahmoud Abbas have no control.
Jerusalem has warned that such unilateral moves are not a substitute for
a Middle East peace treaty, which would establish a Palestinian state
by mutual consent.
"Palestinians seek to go to an international forum and avoid peace
negotiations," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told EU diplomats on
Monday. "It pushes peace further back."Palestinians receive int'l encouragement
But the PA leadership is plowing ahead with clear signs of international
encouragement. The number of countries that recognize Palestine as a
state has risen this year to 110, more than half the membership of the
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund last week praised the
performance of the PA, saying in separate reports that it was
well-positioned to run an independent nation.
Fayyad said his government had connected all Palestinian residential
areas, including remote ones, to the electricity grid, and paved and
fixed 2,250 km (1,400 miles) of streets.
While they make up two parts of the same future state in theory, Gaza
and the West Bank have never been more divided, politically and
geographically. Abbas and Fayyad say they want peace with Israel. Hamas,
which controls Gaza, rejects any deal that accepts the Jewish state.
The "occupation," says the report, remains the "most significant challenge to economic development in Palestine."
"Restrictions on movement and access, as well as lack of control over
borders and natural resources continue to be real barriers to the growth
of the economy."