UN: Funding, politics harm PA state-building

Report says financial problems, lack of political progress harming PA's state-building efforts.

PA President Abbas at Doha conference on J'lem 390 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous)
PA President Abbas at Doha conference on J'lem 390 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous)
The Palestinian state-building effort is at increased risk, because of both Palestinian Authority financial problems and the lack of a “credible” political horizon, according to a UN report.
The report, to be submitted Wednesday to the Palestinian donors’ conference meeting in Brussels, is titled “Palestinian State-Building: An Achievement at Increased Risk.”
Indicating the overall downward trend, the UN added the word “increased” to the title from its last report submitted to the conference in September, which was called, “Palestinian State-Building: An Achievement at Risk.”
The report notes that there has been “little progress” since September 2011, and that the “political and financial pressure on the Palestinian Authority has only increased.” These factors, the report concluded, “continue to represent a serious and real threat to the Palestinian Authority’s sustainability.”
According to the UN report, the PA accumulated $540 million in debt, and although it is taking measures to reduce the deficit, “donors are still urged to front-load funding for 2012 and to help meet the $1.1 billion level of funding to allow the PA to meet its obligations and avoid accruing further arrears.”
The conclusion on the financial pressure on the PA dovetailed with a similar conclusion contained in the Israeli report that will be presented to the conference. That report concluded that problems the Palestinians are having managing their budget “may undermine its track record as a system that meets the requirements of a well-functioning state.”
Beyond the financial issue, the UN report said that the “depth and breadth of progress in the Palestinian state-building achievement has not been matched by political progress towards a final status agreement.”
The report stated that absence of a credible political horizon due to the “continuing failure by the parties to engage in meaningful negotiations is now beginning to undermine the viability of the Palestinian state-building effort. Despite the efforts of the Quartet, the intervening six months have been marked by growing mistrust between the parties and negative developments on the ground – in particular settlement activity.”
A second political challenge, according to the paper, is “the continued Palestinian divide and the unsustainable situation in Gaza.” The lack of Palestinian reconciliation prevents the PA from “implementing a positive agenda that would yield sustainable, inclusive economic growth,” the report stated.
The report suggested Israel take steps toward the Palestinians in east Jerusalem, end the closure of Gaza, and take a number of measures to give the Palestinians more control in Area C – the part of the West Bank under full- Israeli control.
The donors’ conference, formally know as the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), will be chaired by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and presided over by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
The AHLC was established in 1993 during the heyday of the Oslo process, and is the principal policy-level coordinating mechanism for international aid to the Palestinians.