Speakers at Rome Seminar Cite Strong, Stable Palestinian Authority as Prerequisite to Sovereign, Independent State of Palestine



Urging Europe to ‘Take the Lead’, Observer of the State of Palestine Calls For New Approach that Compels Israel to Enter into Meaningful Political Process

ROME, 28 February — A robust, financially stable Palestinian Authority was vital to ensuring enhanced international engagement, a viable Palestinian economy and sustainable human development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, speakers said this afternoon as the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People wrapped up its work.

Despite the pace of progress on the political track, James W. Rawley, Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said that safeguarding the financial and political stability of the Palestinian Authority was an essential step towards bolstering development and improving socio-economic conditions on the ground.

He set out three actions in that regard: Israel must stop withholding tax revenues; the Authority itself should present a more balanced budget; and donors should increase their support.

He also highlighted the need for enhancing the role of the donor community and mobilizing assistance to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and its institutions. Building national capacity, he said, was among the key objectives of United Nations agencies working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in the relevant architecture of the Palestinian Authority. However, there was an additional challenge to coordinating aid, namely, the Israeli occupation, which imposed a range of complex restrictions that manifested themselves in many ways.

“As a consequence, we need to engage with the Israelis on a variety of fronts,” he said, citing political and operational objectives of such engagement.