Conference: The Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza: Economic Dimensions - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
In the first part of the conference, the agreed documents of November 15, the “Agreement on Movement and Access” and the “Agreed Principles for Rafah Crossing”, were considered a good basis, because they guarantee a minimum of mobility and freedom of movement and provide the possibility to build transnational economic contacts. In order to achieve further concessions and border openings, it is of major importance to build security.
To this end, the potential of the society for radical political tendencies has to be weakened by permanently decreasing the percentage of unemployment through well directed activities.
Another major issue, which has been tackled in the second part of the conference, was the impact of the private sector, which must contribute to the economic revival in a considerable way, but is facing major obstacles in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories. Energy prices are very high and it is difficult for investors to obtain loans. Furthermore, loans are burdened with high interest rates.
The participants complained that the capability of the aspiring private sector cannot be used in an appropriate way. This is also due to the fact that the Palestinian Authority has one-sided interests and is giving monopolies in order to assure loyalty and power. More criticism was uttered against the Palestinian Authority for the lack of commitment against the violence and in preventing the kidnappings, which are increasing in number. The participants blamed the Palestinian Authority for not taking enough action, knowing who is committing these actions, but not showing enough effort in fighting them.
The representatives of the private sector called upon the business people and the economists to have a critical eye on the private sector and to establish a platform, which presents creative ideas towards the Palestinian Authority by appearing as a united entity. The independent business men and investors agreed that they can contribute to a culture in which economy can grow and the Palestinian people can benefit permanently.
In the third session of the conference possibilities of bi- and multilateral cooperation were discussed. The Egyptian participants affirmed their willingness to cooperate and to help. Representatives of the donor community expressed optimism regarding the start of a new era. This could be possible, if the public sector would work more closely together with the private sector in the future and if democratic structures would be enforced. Additionally, it is important that the Palestinians themselves have a clear view of their conceptions for the future.