UN’s Serry: Only diplomacy can secure Palestinian state

Without permanent-status agreement, Palestinian statehood building efforts will be put at risk, UN report says.

September 15, 2011 02:29
3 minute read.
Palestinians playing cards in Ramallah cafe

Palestinians playing cards in Ramallah cafe 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)


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Palestinian state building efforts are at risk unless a diplomatic solution is found which would allow for a permanent-status agreement that ends the conflict, the UN said Wednesday in a report that it issued in advance of a donor conference in New York on Sunday.

It issued its report as Palestinians prepare to seek unilateral statehood at the United Nations by requesting that it be recognized as a member state this month.

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The report lauded Palestinian state-building efforts but made no comment on the Palestinian membership drive.

It chastised both the Palestinians and Israelis for failing to progress on a diplomatic solution to end the conflict and noted that the gap between the Palestinians’ institutional progress and the stagnant political one had widened.

“The inability of the Israelis and the Palestinians to meet the target date for a permanent- status agreement or even to resume negotiations is a source of deep concern,” said the report “Palestinian State Building: an achievement at risk” which was put out by the Office of Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

It followed a report issued earlier this week by the World Bank which said that a fiscal crisis also threatened Palestinian statehood.

In a statement he issued with the report, Serry said, “I am very worried about the disconnect between what the PA has achieved on the ground, and where the political process stands. The PA has completed what it set out to achieve two years ago to prepare its institutions to be able to assume the responsibilities of statehood.”

But, he added, the reality is that there is only so much that can be done in conditions of prolonged occupation, unresolved final-status issues and no serious progress on a two-state solution.” He added that the continued split between Fatah and Hamas was also problematic.

“Further achievements in state-building require that the politics catch up with the impressive progress on the ground. People should realize that if we do not meet this challenge, the achievements the Palestinian Authority has realized will be increasingly at risk,” he said.

The report called for the release of Gilad Schalit who has been held captive in Gaza for the last five years and noted its concern for Hamas treatment of NGOs in the Gaza Strip.

It spoke of the terror attack in Eilat and Palestinian violence against Israelis, and the bulk of the report dealt with issues relating to the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank.

The report spoke of its concern about issues relating to Palestinian movement and access, settlement building and settler violence, particularly the recent vandal attacks on mosques.

It welcomed a decision over the summer by the High Court of Justice to demolish three homes in the settler outpost of Migron.

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At the same time, the report said, the growing number of Palestinian homes that had been demolished in Area C – areas over which Israel has full security and civic control – was of concern.

Serry called on Israel to “roll back measures of occupation which continue to stifle Palestinian economic growth.”

“We saw good steps in this regard during 2009 and 2010, but we haven’t seen bolder steps since then,” he said. “If the weight of the occupation is not being lifted, all the achievements to date will be increasingly difficult to sustain.”

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