NEW YORK, September 23, 2014 (WAFA) – “The prolonged occupation, the siege of Gaza, the construction and expansion of settlements, the separation wall, … demolition of houses and public buildings, detaining and killing people including children, directly diminish the two-state solution perspective and abort all means of achieving sustainability,” said Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during a speech to the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) conference on Monday.
“Our people are suffering all sorts of aggression by the Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank. The Gaza Strip has recently been exposed to serious military attacks for more than 51 days; causing huge destruction and increasing our people’s vulnerability,” added Hamdallah.
The PM asserted that a “major obstacle that makes any effort to assist our people in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip very limited or impossible is the lack of funds and the financial hardships that the consecutive Palestinian governments have faced.”
“The aggression intensified shortages in the vital sectors, ruining public, economic and social services, deepening extreme poverty and wreaking havoc everywhere. The last Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip took the lives of nearly 2200 Palestinians with the vast majority of children, women and elderly people, and had also injured more than 11,000. Sadly, around 91 families were totally removed from the civil records without any sound justification.”
“According to our preliminary assessments, more than 55 thousand housing units were either totally or partially damaged. 213 health and education facilities were severely affected. The only power plant in Gaza had not even escaped severe damage, not to mention wastewater treatment plants, water and sewage networks, road infrastructure, factories, and other vital plants and projects many of which are funded by international agencies.”
Nonetheless, Hamdallah ensured that the “government is fully committed to President Abbas’s political program, the two-state solution, and is abiding by the Quartet principles. Our ultimate goal is to reach comprehensive peace, to fulfill our dreams for establishing a viable state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side-by-side with Israel in peace and prosperity.
“The Consensus Government fully supports endeavors to resuming the peace process,” he said, adding: “we always reiterate our position for supporting any comprehensive peace settlement agreed on by both parties and in line with the two-state solution,” said Hamdallah.
“In the West Bank including the so-called “Area (C)” and East Jerusalem, the situation is not any better: construction and expansion of the settlements persist; the separation wall imposes unfair illegitimate realities on the ground. The Israeli occupation controls our natural resources and access to our land and restricts our movement. The discriminatory policies in East Jerusalem continue to be void of justice. All these realities limited our ability to achieve sustainable development or even to be able to manage our budget.”
“I am concerned with our future, but I also believe in hope and justice. All our challenges, starting from the crisis in the Gaza Strip to our financial hardships, stem from the root cause: the occupation! Let us seriously tackle this conflict and seize the opportunity to build a bright and safe future for the coming Palestinian and Israeli generations.”
“Prior to the last war on Gaza, we were planning to discuss with you our top priorities to reduce the impact of 7 years of division and how we can support the Consensus Government in its mission to strengthen the social structure, ensure civil servant integration and unification of the Palestinian institutions.
However, “we have been forced to shift into a new reality due to the unjustified attack and offensive hostilities. Instead of focusing on our main national goals and agenda we are now urged to provide humanitarian and basic needs that, without any doubt, will cost billions of dollars over a long period of time. Such financial burden could have been avoided by resorting to reason, prudence and logic.”
“We are moving ahead for more internal corrective measures as much as possible; we strive to broaden the revenue basis, rationalize expenditures and to exercise robust efforts towards improving fiscal collections.”
“I am looking forward to reaching a point where the international financial support will be substantially reduced and the costs of the long lasting occupation alleviated. Bearing the costs of occupation is certainly unacceptable to the Palestinians and it should not be acceptable to all taxpayers in your countries who are subsidizing the cost of occupation where Palestine could be self-sustainable only by granting the legitimate rights to the Palestinians.”
“While we were preparing ourselves for this meeting, the Israeli government was launching bids for settlement activities all over the West Bank and Jerusalem. Lately, the Israeli government announced several projects, and declared the confiscation of additional four square kilometers of Palestinian land for the construction of a new settlement in the southern part of the West Bank. This act of land dispossession mirrors the Israeli government’s disregard for the two-state solution and reemphasizes the importance of focusing on Area C.”
“This forum could be the ideal space for strengthening the coordination between the State of Palestine and the Government of Israel, to achieve our national objectives. Not only financial resources are required, but also cooperation and facilitation from the Israeli authorities to ensure realistic implementation and sustainability.”
Hamdallah sought the attendees’ “support to the consensus Government in achieving its mandate to prepare for the elections and to reduce the impact of the division accumulated over the past years.”
“I call upon the Government of Israel to up-lift the restrictions imposed on “Area (C)’ and East Jerusalem to enable us to implement developmental projects as required and to preserve the viability of the two-state solution.”
The PM also urged “the Government of Israel to facilitate the access and implementation of natural resources interventions including water and energy supply and wastewater plants and to stop using live-fire in military training zones. Such measures would assist us in achieving sustainability.”
“I urge all the participating delegations to take serious positions against the daily Israeli plans imposed on East Jerusalem, especially, the intentional efforts to divide Al Haram Al Sharif.”
“I would request from our partners to fulfill their commitments to support our budget, in order to enhance the financial outlook in an attempt to scale up the developmental assistance in line with our National Development Plan, Gaza Reconstruction and Development Plan and our national priorities.”
“I urge you to provide both parties with political solutions to end the occupation that began in 1967 and to support the establishment of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel within secure and recognized borders, and to safeguard a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, the Roadmap and the Arab Peace Initiative.”