Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas told a donors conference that Israel must make significant changes in West Bank settlements if there is to be a chance for peace. “I’ll be eager to implement all our commitments,” he claimed,”under the road map and I expect the Israel side to do the same comprehensively, and without excuses by them. I expect them to stop all settlement activities without exception.” The strong words reflected the increasing feeling among Palestinian authorities that something must be done to have specific accomplishments as soon as possible. Many economists believe the Palestinian economy needs an end to restrictions in order to get farm production back to prior levels and to ensure that people are working, not being idle. Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livnia emphasized to the group that creation of a “Palestinian state is in Israel’s interest.”
The continued economic depression among Palestinians does not benefit either side in the conflict. Idleness only encourages people to spend their time listening to voices of discord. A healthy and vibrant Palestinian economy only stands to benefit the chances for peace. Donors have promised over a billion dollars of aid including over $500 million from the United States.