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Source: Norway
21 March 2012

Continued international support for the Palestinian Territory

The Ad Hoc Liason Committee (AHLC) for assistance to the Palestinians met today in Brussels, and confirmed the international community’s continued support for economic development and reforms in the Palestinian Territory. The Palestinians are now facing major economic challenges. “We have a collective responsibility to make sure that the Palestinian state-building project is continued, so that a foundation is laid for a Palestinian state,” Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre said.

The AHLC meeting concluded that international donor contributions, Palestinian austerity measures and facilitation of Palestinian economic growth by Israel are important measures if an economic crisis in the Palestinian Territory is to be avoided.

“By carrying out far-reaching reforms, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has laid the foundation for changes for the better in Palestinian society. In today’s difficult economic situation, it is essential that the international community continues its engagement for promoting stability and preserving the Palestinian institutions,” Mr Støre said.

“Donor contributions will be able to ensure economic stability in a difficult situation, but they cannot create sustainable economic growth over time,” Mr Støre said. 

In reports from the IMF, the World Bank and the UN that were presented at the meeting, it was emphasised that Israeli restrictions on Palestinian business activities must be lifted far more quickly if Palestinian economic sustainability is to be ensured. 

“One of the main topics discussed at the meeting was the need to improve the procedures for Israel’s collection and transfer of Palestinian customs and tax revenues. These revenues are the result of legitimate value creation by the Palestinians. The revenue transfers must be made on a regular basis, and should not be dependent on the political situation between the parties. We are pleased that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities are now engaged in dialogue on this important issue,” Foreign Minister Støre said.

The EU, represented by High Representative Catherine Ashton, hosted today’s AHLC meeting, which was chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Quartet Representative Tony Blair, Israel, and major donor countries also participated. The AHLC maintained its conclusion that the Palestinian Authority has the necessary institutions in place to form a Palestinian state.

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