PA Wants $5 Billion to Launch State
The Palestinian Authority is asking Western officials for $5 billion dollars to launch a state with, Reuters reports.
This, despite US rejection of unilateral moves and abject refusal by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is asking the West to underwrite a three-year development plan to the tune of $1.467 billion this year, $1.754 billion in 2012 and $1.596 billion for 2013.
"We have distributed the plan to the donors and they have welcomed it," PA Planning Minister Ali al-Jarbawi said.
The plan, which includes significant funds for Hamas-run Gaza, will be presented formally to donor countries at a pledging conference in June, he said.
The plan says "the next three years will witness a transformation in the nature of external aid from 'life support' to real investment in the future of Palestine".
"Development of vast areas of West Bank land, isolated and damaged by the occupation will also require sustained effort and investment for many years to come," the plan says.
"The journey has been long and arduous, but the end is now in sight. We are now in home stretch to freedom," Fayyad says in the introduction to the plan. "Now it is time for us to be the masters of our own destiny in a state of our own."
PA leaders plan to ask the United Nations General Assembly in September to recognize a PA state on all lands under Jordanian control when the 1948 armistice lines were drawn. The PA has been increasingly aggressive moves to 'reclaim' land without discussion in the past several months.
The United Nations, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have praised Fayyad's drive over the past two years to establish the institutions and attributes of a modern state in time for the General Assembly meeting in September.
But Israel has warned unilateral moves, proscribed by the very Oslo Accords which allow the PA to exist, cannot replace negotiated peace.
Donors will have to seriously weigh the fiscal gamble they are being asked to make amidst global financial crisis.
Israel's de facto control of the majority of Judea and Samaria, and the presence of 500,000 Israeli citizens in areas the PA wants for itself, make Fayyad's plans an economic gamble at best even with a General Assembly resolution in his favor.
A unilaterally declared PA state would not have any treaties in place with Israel, which would encircle it. Were Israel's leaders to seal such a state off, rather than aquiesce to its existence, the PA would likely face economic ruin.
It is unclear whether the 'Palestinian cause' would have survived to the present day without foreign donors interjecting themselves into Israeli affairs over the past several decades.