Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said today that only a political solution could guarantee an end to the decades-old Palestinian Israeli conflict.
Reacting at the start of the Palestinian cabinet meeting in Ramallah to the US-sponsored economic conference planned to be held in Bahrain in late June as part of the American so-called deal of the century, Shtayyeh said his government was not consulted in any way on this meeting.
“The economic issue should be an outcome of the political solution because the Palestinian people and leadership are not looking to only improve living conditions under occupation,” he said. “Any solution to the conflict in Palestine will only come through a political solution aimed at ending the occupation and the realization of Palestinian rights in an independent, sovereign and viable state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of return of refugees based on United Nations resolutions and international law.”
Shtayyeh said that the financial difficulty the Palestinian Authority (PA) is going through today was a result of what he described as the “financial war” waged against the Palestinians with a goal to extort political compromises from them.
“We do not give in to extortion, nor would we trade our national rights for money,” he said, in reference to the economic conference as well as Israeli deduction of millions of dollars from the Palestinian tax revenues for what it claims amounts to what the PA pays families of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and those killed by its forces that compelled the Palestinian Authority to refuse to accept all $200 million in revenues if incomplete.
The Prime Minister demanded that Israel should return all seized Palestinian money, calling for an international auditing mechanism to look into the Israeli deductions from the funds such as for what Israel claims money the PA owes it for water, electricity, wastewater, hospitals and others.
The Israeli deductions on prisoners issue started in January and the ensuing Palestinian response harmed the PA’s financial situation and forced to it cut expenses and adopt other austerity measures including paying only half salary to its over 200,000 public employees and retirees.
For his part PLO Secretary General Dr. Saeb Erekat said on a statement that USA announcement of an economic meeting in Bahrain to make the oppressor and the oppressed coexist are doomed to fail. Attempts at promoting an economic normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected
Erekat added :”On behalf of the PLO Executive Committee I would like to confirm that we were not consulted by any party on the announced meeting to take place in Manama Bahrain. The Trump Administration’s vision is being implemented on the ground with their decisions and positions on Jerusalem, settlements and refugees, among others”.
This is not about improving living conditions under occupation but about reaching Palestine’s full potential by ending the Israeli occupation.
The basic requirements for peace are well known within the context of full implementation of the long overdue inalienable rights of the Palestinian people as per international law and UN resolutions, with an independent State of Palestine on the 1967 border, with East Jerusalem its capital and a just solution to all final status issues based on international law and the Arab Peace Initiative.