UN calls for strategic approach to address Palestinian economic crisis

UNSCO says Israeli restrictions prevent Palestinian economic growth.

UN calls for strategic approach to address Palestinian economic crisis

The United Nations on Saturday called for the adoption of a more strategic approach to address the Palestinian economic and fiscal crisis.

The call came in a report issued by the office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), Tor Wennesland, ahead of an upcoming meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) in Brussels on May 10.

Chaired by Norway, the AHLC is the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for development assistance to the Palestinian territories. Its chief sponsors are the US and the EU.

In the report, UNSCO “warned against uncoordinated approach to address the current political, economic and security challenges.”

It said economic steps alone, including Palestinian fiscal reforms, and the further easing of Israeli movement restrictions on Palestinians alone “will not sustainably address the multiple crises facing” the Palestinian Authority.

UNSCO went on to call on all actors “to push beyond a conflict-management paradigm to a conflict-resolution paradigm.”

“With this perspective, there are measures that can be taken immediately to improve the situation. There is a need for a package of incremental, durable, and meaningful steps that would reflect a more coherent strategy to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and clearly chart the way toward a two-state solution. Getting there requires political leadership,” Wennesland said.

The report warned that Israeli restrictions, particularly in Area C, prevent Palestinian economic growth.

“Israeli movement and land-use restrictions, continued settlement activity and expansion, and the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain, underscore this negative development,” it added.

Under the 1995 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was divided into three portions – Area A, B, and C.

Area C is under Israel’s administrative and security control until a final status agreement is reached with the Palestinians.

Hüseyin Demir