A bunch of countries are ramping up aid to the non-elected leadership of the West Bank, while continuing to hold hostage the economies of both Gaza and the West Bank. Bush, of course, isn’t giving anything, merely repledging money that’s already been pledged. Will Israel do anything positive? of course not. Just like Bush.
Despite the new aid pledges, the Palestinian Authority’s economy will continue to contract unless Israel eases its blockage of the Gaza Strip and remove key internal checkpoints to allow Palestinians to move freely in the West Bank, the World Bank cautioned in its report.
The World Bank estimated that without such measures, the Palestinian gross domestic product would probably contract by 2 percent annually over the next five years. If Israel does ease the restrictions, and if the Palestinians put promised reforms in place, the economy could grow 5 percent a year, the report added.
Mr. Abbas, in his remarks, appealed to Israel to take a number of concrete measures, including a freeze on all settlements in the Palestinian territories, the dismantling of what he identified as “wildcat settlements,” a halt to construction of Israel’s barrier of separation and the release of more Palestinian prisoners.