UN Report Warns that Lack of Peace Process and Rising Extremism Threatens
Palestinian Statehood Aspirations and Israel's Security
The report notes that since the last meeting of the AHLC in Brussels on 27 May 2015, the international community has continued to work to establish a path towards the resumption of final status negotiations amidst a fragile and tense security environment. The report also calls for urgent bold and concrete actions by all parties “to stabilise the situation on the ground, to improve the lives of Palestinians, and to strengthen Palestinian unity in order to enable a return to meaningful negotiations.”
The report warns of the deteriorating political and security situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with tensions increasing, particularly since June. It notes that this has been driven mostly by increasing violence between Palestinians and Israelis, a sharp rise in demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures, and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli Security Forces. The report warns, “violence and continuing clashes in and around the Old City of Jerusalem are a source of deep international concern,” and calls on all to demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area and refrain from provocative actions and inciting rhetoric.
The report also highlights the considerable challenge in putting the Government of Palestine’s finances on a stable footing. “Implementation of existing agreements including the Paris Protocol is an essential next step, including a sustainable solution on tax collection which will help ensure predictable and unconditional transfer of tax revenues and offer transparency in relation to deductions made for monies owed by the Palestinian government. Multi-year financial support to the Government of National Consensus (GNC) is critical to enhance its fiscal stability,” the report underscores. It also highlights that greater and more far reaching progress for Palestinians in Area C is essential, including in infrastructure, service areas A and B as well as the approval of community driven outline plans in Area C.
Turning to the Gaza Strip, the report notes that the situation remains precarious with growing discontent among the population. “With power outages averaging 12 to 16 hours per day, and with 40,000 public sector employees not having received full salaries for over one year, the people of Gaza are suffering,” the report adds. It stresses that the United Nations objective remains to see the lifting of all closures within the framework of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) and in line with Israel and Egypt’s security concerns. In the absence of such a change, the temporary Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) increasingly enables the entry of material at scale and for a wide range of actors, including the private sector. Over 95,000 people have purchased construction material to repair their houses and work has begun on the 18,000 totally destroyed or severely damaged homes. However the report underscores that far more funding is needed to support this as well as the next phase of reconstruction, including the rebuilding of entirely destroyed neighbourhoods like Shejayiah. “Removing aggregate and bar, medical equipment, alternative electrical supply equipment and civil defence equipment from the dual-use list would ease unnecessary delays and processing time,” the report adds.
Turning to intra-Palestinian reconciliation and unity, the report stresses that this matter remains a fundamental challenge to the ability of the GNC to address the serious political, security, humanitarian and economic challenges in Gaza. “To date, there has been little concrete progress in the Government’s efforts to integrate the administrative, legal and financial systems and, crucially, of the security services, between the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Nevertheless, the GNC has made progress on a number of state-building objectives,” the report adds.
Note to Editors: The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) serves as the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for development assistance to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The AHLC is chaired by Norway and co-sponsored by the EU and the US. In addition, the United Nations participates together with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The AHLC seeks to promote dialogue between donors, the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel. The full report to the AHLC prepared by the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process is attached to this release and includes an executive summary of its main conclusions.