Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Wednesday that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is the major obstacle to the development of the Palestinian economy and the cause for its current state of recession.
Hamdallah’s statement came during a conference held in Ramallah by The Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS), titled “Towards a New Vision for the Revival of the Palestinian Economy”.
“The (Israeli) occupation and its measures are the major obstacle to development of the Palestinian economy and the reason for once again going into a recession and the downturn in rate of growth and volume of local and foreign investment,” he said.
He urged the public and private sectors to use all their resources to overcome the economic impediments facing the Palestinian economy, to push forward economic growth and create jobs by supporting entrepreneurs.
“To achieve a sustainable development, we are seeking to build a robust and independent economy by supporting local products, in addition to nurturing an investment-friendly environment that can help improve the Palestinian industry and create rewarding jobs,” Hamdallah remarked.
Mohammad Shtayyeh, chairman of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR), said the Palestinian economy has been working under the effect of variable economic and political “shocks” over which the Palestinian leadership has no control. He noted to a remarkable and gradual decline of the Palestinian economic resources.
Shtayyeh said in order for the Palestinian economy to improve, there is an urgent need for it to transform from a consumer-oriented to a productive economy.
During the conference, Minister of Social Affairs Ibrahim Shaer called for more emphasis on income-generating activities rather than on international financial donations, which he said will lead to a better standard of living.
Also addressing the conference, Samir Zraiq, chairman of the Palestinian Federation of Businessmen Associations and Palestinian Businessmen Union, called for less dependence on foreign aid and more focus on the reinforcement of the local economy and the private sector.
He said a national fund has to be established in order to create thousands of jobs.