A new UN report warns that the Palestinian people are facing an array of “unprecedented” financial, humanitarian and political challenges, especially in the West Bank.
The report has been issued by the office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) for the upcoming bi-annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) in Brussels slated for 30 April 2019.
The report outlined a number of steps taken by the UN to facilitate the implementation of critical humanitarian and economic interventions in Gaza, which were supported by the AHLC in September 2018.
These achievements include a doubling the electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, creating thousands of temporary jobs, and providing emergency medical supplies.
It further details continuing efforts to find sustainable solutions for the energy, water and health sectors.
“Addressing the deteriorating humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza requires not only donor funding and project implementation, but bold policy decisions by all sides,” said Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
With regard to the occupied West Bank, the report warned of “unprecedented” financial, security and political challenges faced by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The report detailed the backdrop, which includes continued Israeli military occupation, settlement expansion, demolitions, territorial fragmentation, lack of jurisdiction, increased Palestinian protection needs, violence between Palestinians and Israeli forces and dwindling financial support.
Of particular concern, is the financial crisis caused by Israel’s decision to partially withhold six percent of the clearance revenue it collects on behalf of the PA and the subsequent Palestinian decision not to accept any such revenue unless the full amount it is owed is transferred.
As a result of these decisions, the Palestinian government has been deprived of some 65 percent of its revenue and forced to take extreme austerity measures.
The report warns that unless this financial problem is resolved, the impact of this crisis will take years to undo. It reiterates the UN Secretary-General’s call to both sides to engage in a constructive manner with the goal of restoring the revenue transfers in full, in line with the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations.
In conclusion, the report stressed the UN’ firm commitment to continue working with Israel, the PA and the international community to find a solution to the unprecedented fiscal crisis as a matter of urgency.
It also provided an update on a number of steps to ease the economic stress across the occupied Palestinian territory.