Washington - Institutional reforms being made by the Palestinian Authority are "building a new reality" and adding to outside confidence in Palestinian self-governing capabilities, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington — Institutional reforms being made by the Palestinian Authority are “building a new reality” and adding to outside confidence in Palestinian self-governing capabilities, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says.
Speaking October 20 to members of the nongovernmental organization American Task Force on Palestine at a Washington hotel, Clinton said that given recent institutional reforms by the Palestinian Authority ( PA ), “it is easier than ever to envision an independent Palestine able to govern itself, uphold its responsibilities to provide for its own people, and ensure security.”
Clinton noted that in a September 16 assessment, the World Bank stated that should the PA maintain “its current performance in institution-building and delivery of public services, it is well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future.”
A two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is “essential to the future of the Palestinian people,” Clinton said.
Under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Clinton said, the PA is “reversing a history of corruption and working hard to produce results that matter in Palestinians’ daily lives.”
“The streets are safer, courts are handling more cases, taxes are being collected more efficiently. In the first half of this year, revenues were 50 percent higher than in the same period in 2009,” Clinton said.
Palestinians are seeing continued economic growth, with more than 100 new West Bank companies being registered in August alone, and offering “everything from venture capital funds to local hardware stores,” the secretary said.
More Palestinians are finding jobs, and the economic and security improvements are attracting more tourists and business travelers, Clinton said.
The Obama administration has contributed to the improvements by investing nearly $2 million to upgrade and reopen the Jalameh crossing with Israel. The project has improved the economy of Jenin by facilitating travel, spending and shopping by Arab citizens of Israel. It has also worked to increase the flow of commercial goods and construction supplies into Gaza, which has allowed Gaza City’s wastewater treatment plant to be modernized and Gaza’s electrical power distribution to be upgraded.
The United States helped sponsor the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem earlier in the year. It generated $655 million in private investment pledges targeting high-growth sectors in the PA, Clinton said.
While acknowledging that economic and institutional progress are necessary steps, she said, “The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people will never be satisfied until there is a two-state solution … ensuring dignity, justice and security for all.”
An independent state will give Palestinians the freedom to travel, do business and govern themselves. “Palestinians would have the right to chart their own destinies at last. The indignity of occupation would end and a new era of opportunity, promise and justice would begin,” Clinton said.
The Obama administration will not turn its back on the people of Palestine or the people of Israel, she said, and it has not given up in its efforts to encourage direct talks to end the conflict.
“We are working every day, sometimes every hour, to create the conditions for negotiations to continue and succeed. We are urging both sides to avoid any actions that would undermine trust or prejudice the outcomes of the talks,” she said.
Thanks to organizations like the American Task Force for Palestine that advocate a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace,” Clinton said, it is easier to see beyond the “false choices” of the Middle East conflict. The organization opposes violence, advocating a peaceful end to the Middle East conflict through the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
“Being pro-Palestinian does not mean you must reject Israel’s right to exist. And being pro-Israel does not mean you must deny the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.” Clinton said. “The path to security and dignity for both peoples lies in negotiations that result in two states living side by side in peace and prosperity, and a comprehensive peace in the entire region.”
( This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov )
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