Remarks on the unclear Plestinian Economic Initiative


There is no doubt : "As long as the economic development prospects remain weak , so too will the prospects for peace and stability" the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the World Economic Forum held in Jordan in May last year  talking about the resumption of the peace process in the Middle East. TIt's lamentable though that the proposal brought forward by an unidentified group of private consultants, cherry-picked and coordinated by the Representative of the Quartet on the Middle East Tony Blair is simply inadequate to translate this objective into initiatives that can realistically have a chance to prove successful, to the given conditions.
The package of measures called "Palestinian Economic Initiative" still under consideration by the Israelis and Palestinians and of which observers only know the title and an abstract outlininng the main points and relevant areas of intervention, was presented pompously by Blair himself at the meeting of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee held in New York on 25 September. The plan is focussed on the private sector and the development of eight key areas, chosen according to their contribution to the GDP, the number of people whocan find employment there and the potential for development.
So far nothing to complain, except that the initiative:

a) completely ignores the cruical aspect of the fragility of the situation on the ground, which is an essential condition which the actual ability to attract investment is depending on;

b ) contains a mere list of areas to focus on, together with questionable and laughable measures, such as easing the passage of tourists at check points;

c) does not clarify who and why one should invest in a such a precarious situation, as the Palestinian one, where movement restrictions cause substantial economic costs, not to mention the uncertainty on the grant of visas by Israel to foreign investors.

Last, methodologically speaking, the opacity which characterized the work of the advisory group and the absence of information about the outcome of this work has irritated some European capital cities, such as Paris. If on the one hand Europe is asked to contribute financially to the implementation of the "Blair Package", on the other hand the elusive group of experts has carefully avoided all interactions with any European institution.
"Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian question is both urgent and vital". This is the beginning of the message that Tony Blair published on his website of Quartet Representative. As of today, the result of a six-year work as the Special Envoy appointed to sort out the "urgent and vital" question can be summed up in a single, vague and non-viable proposal.

Sabrina Gasparrini