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57. Mr. Hijazi (Observer for Palestine) said that the recent multiple crises could clearly only be overcome with the necessary political will and through open and inclusive dialogue. Previously agreed-on commitments must therefore be fulfilled, if confidence in multilateral forums was to be maintained.
58. Palestine shared many of the challenges confronting other developing economies. However, the unique position of the Palestinian people, whose development and economy were stifled by a foreign military occupation, made Palestine especially vulnerable. Israel had systematically confiscated Palestinian land to build illegal settlements while imposing punitive restrictions on Palestinian development efforts. Those illegal policies had unravelled Palestine’s economy and plunged its population into a state of imposed poverty and hunger.
59. The international community had recognized Palestine’s determined efforts to complete its plans to build functional and accountable institutions for a Palestinian State. The Palestinian National Authority had made great headway in its fiscal reforms and social safety net, while the economy continued to recover from years of battery and siege. The latest reports predicted that growth in gross domestic product (GDP) would reach 8 per cent in the current year. In line with the resilient and entrepreneurial nature of the Palestinian people, studies showed a steady increase in the number of registered new enterprises in the West Bank. Those were mostly in the commerce and services sectors because Israeli restrictions continued to discourage investments in the production sectors.
60. In June 2010, Palestine had reported on its progress towards attaining the MDGs. Universal primary education and gender equality in education had already been achieved, and great strides were being made in improving maternal health care. The Palestinian National Authority would continue to strive to shoulder its responsibilities to deliver social justice and equality to the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
61. Palestine’s aspirations extended far beyond the confines of policies imposed by the occupying Power. The latest report of the World Bank had recognized the Palestinian National Authority’s achievements. However, the World Bank had also concluded that as long as the occupation and its policies continued, Palestinians would remain donor-dependent and their institutions would not be able to underpin a viable State. For example, private investment continued to be hampered by mobility restrictions as well as by the risk of new restrictions being introduced at any moment. The economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza also continued to worsen. Although funds had been allocated for economic rehabilitation and reconstruction, the blockade and closures imposed on the Occupied Palestinian Territory had prevented those funds from having a sufficient economic impact.
62. The Climate Change Conference to be held shortly in Cancún and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio in 2012, would provide valuable opportunities to step up the efforts to combat climate change and poverty. In that regard, Palestine called on Member States to bolster their valuable support for the right of occupied peoples to protect their environment and natural resources from illegal exploitation and degradation and their right to development. That principle was enshrined in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and Palestine looked forward to its renewed endorsement.
63. Lastly, Palestine urged Committee members to actively support agenda item 60, entitled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”, which safeguarded the rights and resources essential to Palestinian development and State-building efforts.