Palestinian fishermen ride their boats as they return from fishing at the seaport of Gaza City.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Refueling the Palestinian economy must go hand-in-hand with a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman told a high level donor meeting in New York on Monday night.
“Economic development, critical as it is, is no substitute for sovereignty and statehood,” Feltman said.
“For more than 20 years, we have told Palestinians that they need to focus on institution building and socioeconomic development.
“We have encouraged and supported them in preparing for statehood. The time has come for us to deliver on that promise,” he told the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which held its annual meeting in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
The forum is held twice a year and is the only venue in which Israelis and Palestinians hold a regular dialogue with the donor and international community.
Palestinian Authority Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr
and Finance Minister Shukri Bishara led the Palestinian delegation.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, led the Israeli delegation.
She also welcomed the “strong engagement of the US.
“It is good to see that the United States do not give up, because we are clearly facing a sort of The Israeli delegation presented a number of projects it is advancing with the PA to jump-start the Palestinian economy and to improve issues of sewage pollution and problems with electricity and water in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Israel has already approved the construction of an industrial zone in Tarkumiya, northwest of Hebron, on 110 hectares of land that will house 64 factories and create 2,000 jobs, Hanegbi told reporters.
It is working on a new sewage pipeline to help clean up the Kidron Valley, he added. It is also moving forward on an economic corridor between Jericho and Jordan.
At the end of the meeting the Ad Hoc Committee said it welcomed the Israeli initiatives and called for more work on the “161 high voltage line to Gaza
, water and wastewater infrastructure, and the finalization of the ‘Red- Dead’ agreement leading to increased water delivery.”