Select Committee on International Development Written Evidence

Joint memorandum submitted by the Palestine Platform

  1.  The Palestine Platform provides a joint voice for UK-based member organisations undertaking relief and development work in the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT). Members work together through the Palestine Platform to raise awareness and improve the understanding of the roots of impoverishment of Palestinians amongst policy makers, the press and other key audiences and to campaign for change.

  2.  The World Bank predict that the Western aid embargo and the Israeli restrictions could lead to a reduction in Palestinian incomes by 40% this year leaving 67% of Palestinians living below the poverty line. They fear that current aid restrictions could reverse international efforts over the past 13 years to build a sustainable Palestinian economy and an effective Palestinian government.

  3.  The DFID Palestinian Programme Interim Update also recognises this deteriorating situation and concludes that the economic deterioration is underpinned by:

    —  Suspension of the transfer of customs and other revenues by Israel.

    —  Restrictions on movement, access and trade.

    —  Restricted Palestinian labour flows to Israel.

    —  Redirected aid flows.

  4.  Palestine Platform members believe that the crisis is having a major impact on the humanitarian situation in the oPT and agree with DFID regarding the above major causes.

  5.  Palestine Platform members recognised that the PA election in January 2006 was a democratic process.

  6.  Many Palestine Platform members have consistently stated that diverting donor funds away from the PA will:

    —  Undermine the Palestinian economy and create a worsening humanitarian situation

    —  Undermine the Palestinian Authority preventing, rather than encouraging, the further development of an accountable and transparent PA.

  7.  Palestinian Platform members have warned that the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) is not meeting all the needs of the Palestinian people.


  8.  The humanitarian situation is urgent but is intrinsically linked to the long term development of the Palestinian economy, an accountable and transparent Palestinian Authority as well as a vibrant and strong civil society. It is essential that any responses address the long-term causes of this crisis.

  9.  We welcome DFID's stated desire to support more effective, accountable and inclusive PA institutions. However, we propose that this requires a broad engagement with the Palestinian Authority that goes beyond the TIM and support to the President's Office. We encourage the Quartet members to look to the current talks between Hamas and Fatah for a government of national unity as an opportunity to revisit their position on relations with the Palestinian Authority.

  10.  We stress the critical role a strong civil society plays in development and in ensuring accountable and transparent government structures with appropriate prioritisation and disbursement of government funds. This requires a balanced approach between assistance to the Palestinian Authority and civil society.

  11.  The conflict and continued occupation is one of the main causes of the current crisis and DFID's recognition that a just and peaceful solution must be a major objective of their support is commendable. We would propose that this can only be achieved with the full involvement of the elected representation of the Palestinian people.

  12.  Only a full engagement with the Palestinian Authority will enable DFID's work around creating a positive investment climate through facilitating private sector engagement, improving access to finance and analysing investment opportunities to have an impact.

  13.  However, a positive investment climate combined with economic growth will be insufficient to create the full conditions for a just and peaceful political solution. We encourage DFID to play as full a role as their remit allows in ensuring all conditions for securing a just and lasting solution to the conflict.

  This statement is signed by the following agencies:

    ABCD, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Education Action International, Friends of Birzeit University, Healthlink Worldwide, Interpal, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Oxfam, Qattan Foundation, Quakers, Response International, United Nations Association International Service, War on Want, Welfare Association, World Vision, and Y Care International.

October 2006

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 31 January 2007