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OneVoice warns Knesset members of Palestinian economic collapse

2 pages
OneVoice warns Knesset members of Palestinian economic collapse PR Newswire NEW YORK, July 25, 2012 NEW YORK, July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of the Two-State Solution Caucus in the Knesset heard a presentation by OneVoice Israel on Wednesday, warning that the Palestinian Authority was on the verge of economic collapse.
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OneVoice warns Knesset members of
Palestinian economic collapse
PR Newswire
NEW YORK, July 25, 2012
NEW YORK
,
July 25, 2012
/PRNewswire/ -- Members of the Two-State Solution
Caucus in the Knesset heard a presentation by OneVoice Israel on Wednesday,
warning that the Palestinian Authority was on the verge of economic collapse.
Over 100 concerned citizens joined a dozen parliamentarians, including Caucus
chairmen MK Yoel Hasson and MK Amir Peretz, in a discussion with OneVoice
Israel about the implications of an ailing Palestinian economy and stalled peace
talks on Israeli politics and security. The report, prepared by Gershon Baskin, an
expert on Israeli-Palestinian relations, revealed how the economic crisis
dangerously interconnects with negatively shifting Palestinian public opinion on
the possibilities of ending the occupation and achieving the two-state solution.
"This dangerous combination increases chances of a change in Palestinian
leadership when, for many, there's never been a more ideal leadership for
peacemaking," said Baskin. "Increasing numbers of Israelis and Palestinians are
losing confidence that there remains a possible two-state solution, which
creates urgency for positive political movement on both sides," he added.
The Palestinian economy witnessed a sharp drop in growth so far in 2012,
falling from 9% during the first quarter of last year to 5.4% this year, according
to the report, which relied on data from the Palestinian Finance Ministry, high-
level Palestinian security officials, and the World Bank. The Palestinian Authority
accumulated a national debt of
$1.5 billion
, in addition to its debt of
$1.2 billion
to local private banks.
With restrictions on Palestinian exports and half of the Authority's budget
contingent on the transfer of tax revenues that
Israel
collects
though often
punitively withholds
for them, the Palestinian government has struggled to
pay 153,000 public sector employees, including 30,000 security personnel.
"Prospects for ending the occupation are narrowing while the growth of the
Palestinian economy lags behind, creating conditions for another round of
bloodshed," said Tal Harris, executive director of OneVoice Israel. "The
alternative to peace is not the status quo; the alternative to peace is war. The
solution lies in reducing Palestinian dependence on
Israel
and allowing them to
establish an independent state at peace with all its neighbors."
The report also noted the Palestinian Authority's inability to seek assistance
from the International Monetary Fund because it lacks internationally
recognized country status. The Knesset's Two-State Solution Caucus members
in attendance, representing Kadima, Labor, Meretz, and Hadash, found the
facts eye-opening and stressed the urgency of returning to negotiations.
"The Palestinian Authority's severe financial crisis and the implications
presented in the discussion should disturb everyone's sleep," said MK Yoel
Hasson (Kadima). "The prime minister must cease his policy of inaction on the
political status quo, which does not serve
Israel
's interests."
The 35 members of the Two-State Solution Caucus, conceived and co-created
by OneVoice Israel and MK Hasson, ensure the two-state solution remains a top
priority on the Israeli government's agenda and maintain pressure to end the
conflict.
OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that aims to amplify the
voice of Israeli and Palestinian moderates, empowering them to demand a two-
state solution. The movement educates and trains Israeli and Palestinian youth
in leadership skills, non-violent activism, and democratic principles. To support
and contribute to OneVoice, join us at
www.onevoicemovement.org
.