The Palestinian Authority could function as a state but has been held back by
the “occupation” and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict from fully achieving this
goal, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
“The key constraints to the
existence and successful functioning of the institutions of a potential state of
Palestine arise primarily from the persistence of occupation and the unresolved
issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the report said.
Fayyad says Palestinian institutions ready for statehood
Editor's Notes: Playing poker over ‘Palestine’
report said, “In six areas where the UN is most engaged, government functions
are now sufficient for a functioning government of a state.”
areas were: “governance, rule of law and human rights; livelihoods; education
and culture; health; social protection; and infrastructure and
water.” The UN intends to deliver the report on Wednesday at a 12- nation
donor conference in Brussels.
Robert Serry, the UN’s special coordinator
for the Middle East peace process, called on Israel to “roll back measures of
the occupation to match the Palestinian Authority’s achievements.”
statement and the report come as the Palestinians are preparing to ask the
United Nations in September for unilateral recognition of statehood, a move that
would need the support of the Security Council.
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It follows recent reports
from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that also lauded
Palestinian state-building measures.
The UN said its report reaffirmed a
World Bank assessment from September 2010 that the PA was well-positioned to
establish a state at any point in the near future.
A Foreign Ministry
official, however, told The Jerusalem Post
that despite the PA’s achievements,
it still fell short of necessary criteria for statehood, including in its energy
policy and tax-collection abilities.
But the “elephant in the room” is
its inability to control the Gaza Strip, the official said.
“One of the
key elements for sovereignty is its ability to control territory,” he
A government official added that he appreciated the progress the PA
had made in its economy and state-building efforts.
Israel has been a
partner in these reforms, the official said, “but there is still much work that
needs to be done.”
Palestinian statehood “can only be achieved as a
result of direct negotiations with Israel,” the official
Palestinian refusal to negotiate with Israel has “delayed the
process of Palestinian statehood,” he said.
In statements he released to
the press, Serry also underscored the need for renewed negotiations between
Israel and the Palestinians, which the PA has refused to participate in since last
“I also stress the urgent need for Israeli- Palestinian peace
negotiations on a two-state solution to resume, if the state-building and
political tracks are to come together by September,” said Serry, whose office
prepared the report for the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting in Brussels on
Wednesday. It is chaired by Norway and co-sponsored by the EU and the
It’s the last meeting of the committee before September 11. Serry
said in a statement that September should remain the target date both for a
negotiated settlement and for the Palestinians to complete their statebuilding
“The PA is clearly on track and I know it is committed to
continuing its hard work. However, the institutional achievements of the
Palestinian state-building agenda are approaching their limits within the
political and physical space currently available, precisely at the time when it
is approaching its target date for completion,” Serry said.
concern about the continued split between the Palestinian Authority in the West
Bank and Hamas in Gaza, and urged Fatah and Hamas to reconcile.
will continue to look for real progress towards reunification of Gaza and the
West Bank within the framework of the Palestinian Authority and the commitments
of the Palestine Liberation Organization,” the report stated.
rocket fire from Gaza into Israel must stop, and Israel, in turn, must show
maximum restraint, Serry said.
“Recent escalations have been very
worrying, and I appeal once again for all to observe calm so that civilians are
protected,” he said.
Serry lauded Israeli steps to ease restrictions on
goods entering Gaza, but his office’s report said the flow of goods still fell
short of 2007’s levels.
“The volume of non-food imports, including raw
materials, increased during the second half of 2010, as compared to the first
half; however, the share of non-food items continued to range between 40 and 50
percent, compared to more than 80 percent before the imposition of the closure,”
the report read.
There were approximately 2,500 truckloads of
agricultural produce exported from Gaza in 2006; in 2010 there were only 215
truckloads, according to the report.
It noted that the PA had drafted a
National Plan for 2011-2013 to continue state building.
conference at the appropriate time in 2011 will be an important opportunity to
reaffirm support for the PA’s plans,” the report said.
It urged donor
countries to continue to support humanitarian needs in Gaza and the West Bank.
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