The Speech of the Palestinian Minister of National Economy/ The Palestinian-American Dialogue
I am very pleased to be chairing the Palestinian Delegation to this Economic Dialogue, with my colleagues, Honorable Ministers, and partners from the various ministries.
We would have definitely preferred such meetings were never interrupted and we hope we will continue to hold such meetings on regular basis with results we would all celebrate.
There is a saying by Winston Churchill that reads “Easy to destroy difficult to build”.
In order to restore the relationship to its natural course, we must make a substantial and huge effort, that we are aware of, and ready to find ways and figure out mechanisms to build together.
This dialogue is a crucial step toward repositioning and renewing our relationship in a special and distinctive way for the interest of our nations.
Honorable guests and Esteemed colleagues,
Measures taken by the previous US Administration have impacted the course of our relationship and the impact of these measures are, regrettably, still valid to date.
We have continued to adhere to our key principles protecting our commitment to peace and prosperity for all the people in the region and this is despite the great pressures we have been under.
It is ironic, I read what the former US President Mr. Trump on realizing early on in his presidency that Netanyahu posed a larger obstacle to establishing peace than Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
This statement came a little too late, as the effects of the decisions taken by the Trump administration were grave and will require several efforts to undo them to restore our healthy and productive relationship. However, we have no doubt that the current administration, like many previous ones, believes that the Palestinian leadership are working determinedly for peace. We would like to work collectively with the US Administration to seize the opportunity to regain the momentum and avoid further delays by resuming efforts for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the two-state solution for the interest of our peoples and the region. This is especially in line with the affirmed commitment to the two-state solution as expressed explicitly by the US Administration.
This affirmation by the Administration included commitments to re-open the US Consulate in East Jerusalem, resuming viable funding to the Palestinian Government, and encouraging the reinstating regional support to strengthen the materialization of statehood in Palestine.
We continue to hope that these commitments are to be realized in the nearest future to ensure the trust rebuilding between the people and for maintaining the hope for a just and comprehensive peace is indeed attainable for our region.
I use this opportunity to appreciate the Biden Administration` efforts to resume the support especially for the UNRWA.
Honorable guests and Esteemed colleagues,
Actions speak louder than words; the Israeli Authorities continued to disregard all agreements that were reached with your support. The matrix of constrains imposed by Israeli occupation have made the situation even worse. The illegal settlements have expanded. The discriminatory policies continue to weaken our abilities and de-developing our economy. Jerusalem and restrictions including illegally ousting Palestinians from East Jerusalem aiming at creating new realities. Blockade and bombardment of the Gaza Strip making it unlivable by all standards of livings. The separation Wall instilling an apartheid system in the Holiest Lands in the World! All these and more intentionally measures are a serious obstacle to the two-state solution and hence,
we strongly believe that the US Administration together with the International Community must get together to achieve the Vision of Peace as presented by the Honorable Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine.
It is up to us all; our actions must bring sanity to the ongoing reality for the making of the peace.
It is imperative that pressure must be exercised on the Israeli government to stop all illegal actions including deductions from Palestinian tax revenues, deepening further the severe economic challenges facing the Palestinian Government. The conditionality of the US economic support on such critical issues as in stopping the support to the families of prisoners and martyrs, undermines the socio-political stance of the Palestinian Leadership and Government impacting the foundations of our authority. Rather, it is a behavior that does not correspond to international community’s commitment to building for statehood and achieving an equal level of freedom and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
I had hoped that this meeting would have been conducted in person instead of utilizing such modern life technologies imposed on us by the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 as a health pandemic.
This pandemic has had serious negative effects on the global arena equally on the economy and on the health as well. In Palestine, the impact of the pandemic is severe,
The Palestinian Government has moved quickly and provided the needed emergency response to the crisis at various level, given the limited resources. Yet, still the most vulnerable groups of women and youth were negatively affected as the unemployment rates have rocketed and poverty has deepened threatening economic and social stability
In addition, the government has introduced pragmatic policies and regulations, as well, cooperating with our partners in the international community especially through emergency funding such Istidama program and reallocation of existing funds.
Our vision and strategy to build back better is a clear and a realistic one;
During this dialogue, we have the opportunity to engage together to develop our economy and enhance the enabling business environment.
I am proud to share with you that we have recently issued a new modernized companies’ law that addresses key opportunities for local and foreign investors introducing new kinds of companies and preparing the infrastructure for the online registration.
Similarly, we continue to establish and expand Industrial Estates and Free Zones as hubs for specialized industries targeting both local and international investments as well as markets.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We plan to utilize our important dialogue today to bring to the table key issues of priorities such as; greening the Palestinian Industry, digitize our economy, and opening our markets for impact investment and FDIs especially in Area C, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. it is also critical to support the positive engagement within the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) for advancing the economic collaboration in support to a defined political final solution in accordance with international law.
To this end, my colleagues of line Ministries will be addressing these key issues
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are committed to empower our private Sector for a meaningful partnership, and to be engaged in activities that will promote mutual interest together with our regional partners. In this occasion I would like to thank the USAID for the support provided to the private sector, and looking forward to be engaging with the Palestinian government.
I take this opportunity to reiterate our pleasure and commitment to engaging into this important dialogue and will be looking forward to announcing its major results advancing forward into a dynamic partnership between our governments. Thank You!