Know More About Palestine

Tuesday Aug. 31, 2010 8:35 AM (EST+7)

RAMALLAH, August 31 (JMCC) - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad held a press conference on Monday to mark the halfway point of the Palestinian Authority’s two-year plan for building the institutions of statehood, saying the government would be able to deliver within one year.

Fayyad said that his government had achieved a great deal since announcing its plans in August of 2009, but still had a long way to go to realize its ultimate goal.

“The Palestinian Authority at all levels—individuals, civil society, government institutions and officials—we have accomplished a critical mass of positive change on the ground, consistent with the emergence of an independent, sovereign state of Palestine on the territories occupied in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. That’s the goal of this exercise, Fayyad told reporters.

Fayyad released a document entitled “Homestretch to Freedom,” which outlines in detail the specific objectives to be implemented over the coming year.

The document, which is a follow-up to last year’s Ending the Occupation, Building the State, is organized into four parts: Governance, Social Development, Economic Development, and Infrastructure, with several subsections for each category.

“We are reinforcing the capacity to produce,” said Fayyad. “This is an easy document to monitor. It serves as a charter for accountability, first and foremost to our own people.”

Fayyad said the plan was to prepare Palestinians for self governance. Without a diplomatic process to negotiate a settlement with Israel, however, it is difficult to envision an end to Israel’s occupation, and the removal of most of its settlements.

Under pressure from the United States, the Palestine Liberation Organization led by President Mahmoud Abbas, has agreed to direct talks with Israel set to begin in Washington on Thursday.

Salam Fayyad is betting that Palestinians efforts over the last year will put tremendous pressure on the diplomatic process to produce results. “The international community has invested heavily in this,” he said. “Not only economically and financially, but also morally and politically.”

“We are approaching the moment of reckoning,” said Fayyad in response to several questions on the subject. “Each passing day that progress is not made to resolving this conflict, more adverse facts on the ground continue to be created in a way that makes the two-state solution concept more and more difficult to implement.”

The prime minister was, in large part, referencing the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied territory. Israel’s moratorium on settlement construction is set to expire on September 26, and Palestinian leaders have demanded an extension, threatening to end talks otherwise.






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