Nov. 10, 2005
The FPC looks to its members and friends to raise the issues raised in this newsletter with their local media and their own elected representatives. Please call their attention to the content of our latest press release.
Dear Funding for Peace Coalition member,
The late summer and early autumn months have seen a flurry of international proposals on behalf of the Palestinian economy. As we reported last month, the G8 has outlined a $3 billion support package. Europe issued guidelines in October, which will double its current level of investment
The UK is in a unique position, holding the rotating presidency of both the G8 and the European Commission. Last month, the FPC commented that the UK Treasury had commissioned a report into opportunities "to support economic development to accompany and enhance the peace process."
Mr Gordon Brown, the British Chancellor, has spent 36 hours in the region, exploring how the international community can help regenerate a regional economy heavily damaged by conflict. FPC believes this visit creates an unparalleled moment of hope, allowing the British government to raise urgent concerns with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.
We are pleased to announce that the FPC has submitted a set of proposals to Mr Brown's office, which detail an "economic roadmap" on behalf of the Palestinians. These call for a set of ethically and morally defensible policies, which will allow the average Palestinian and the taxpayer a chance to see how new investments are being executed.
In a personal call to Mr Brown, the FPC has asked him to seize the opportunity of his meetings. It is essential for the future prosperity and peace of the peoples in the region that the Palestinian leadership adopts the principles of transparency and accountability when assessing future economic strategy.
The concerns of the FPC and the necessity for such proposals were further exemplified in the EC's recent strategy statement. The plans from Brussels were issued without any mention of proper planning or control mechanisms and in contravention of the suggested guidelines of OLAF. Such a strategy demands challenge by both the voter and elected representatives alike.
It is significant to note that prior to this set of proposals, Europe already provided around €500 million annually to the Palestinians. To put this figure in perspective, the FPC has published the latest report from "Market Talk", a newsletter, sponsored by members of the Palestinian financial and business sector. It noted:
The Palestine Monetary Authority reported another rise in total deposits. An increase of $96 million brought total bank deposits to $4,710 million as of the end of August 2005.
Encouragingly, Mr Brown has demanded from the PA that it produces an economic plan before large scale aid is forthcoming. This is very much inline with our proposals submitted to the British Treasury. In Mr Brown's own words: "The transparency that we are demanding of the Palestinian Authority ... and the way in which this money will be disbursed deals with many of those problems."
Finally, the FPC welcomes the continuing work of Mr James Wolfensohn, the special envoy of the Quartet, in his efforts towards economic rejuvenation of the Palestinian areas.
It remains essential that the public money is spent in an accountable manner; a manner which will allow the voter and the intended beneficiary to see that it is being treated with due fiduciary care.
Left: Yasser Arafat
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