Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the international community to strengthen its support for the Palestinian Authority, stressing that failure to do so could have a destabilizing effect in the Middle East.
“The vision of a two-State solution and the achievements of the Palestinian Authority are key elements of stability and progress.They must be maintained and realized in full without further delay,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee that was delivered by Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
“Failure to do so at this critical juncture could have consequences that may prove widely destabilizing,” he told the meeting, which was chaired by Norway.
The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) is a 12-member body that serves as the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for development assistance to the Palestinian people.
Mr. Ban underlined that in spite of recent achievements by the Palestinian Authority, the lack of progress on the political track, the ongoing conflict and occupation, the expansion of settlements and the continued Palestinian divide continue to threaten the viability of the two-State solution.
The Secretary-General also drew attention to the dire financial situation of the Palestinian Authority, stating that it presents an additional risk, and called on countries to close the gap in funding needed to provide assistance to Palestinians.
“I urge donors to meet the immediate shortfall of $400 million. But we must also break the annual cycle of fiscal crises that hamper the Palestinian Authority's ability to sustain its State-building achievements,” he said. “Sustainable economic growth that benefits Palestinians while increasing the Palestinian Authority's revenue through taxation is essential now more than ever.”
UN agencies will continue to work with the Palestinian Authority to implement its institution-building plan and to make progress in reconstruction efforts in Gaza, Mr. Ban said. However, he emphasized that Israel must also ease movement and access restrictions to allow the Palestinian private sector to generate economic growth.
“The current situation is not sustainable. By the end of this year, yet another timeline for reaching a negotiated solution will have lapsed. The establishment of a viable, democratic and sovereign State of Palestine living side by side with Israel is long overdue,” Mr. Ban said.
“It is time for the international community to work seriously with the parties in the coming months to chart a new, credible political path towards achieving that vision,” he added.