The Institute of Public Policies (IPP) holds second workshop on Palestinian
Between reality and ambition
Institute of Public Policies (IPP) in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Palestine
held the second session of an economic workshop entitled "The Palestinian
Economy between Reality and Ambition", using the "Zoom" platform. The workshop
dealt with the government's economic strategy, its most important policies, the
hindering facts on the ground, the tools it develops to overcome obstacles, in
addition to the topics of economic disintegration and food security.
workshop was attended by Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Economy,
Eng. Manal Farhan, Director of Programs at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Palestine,
Mr. Nidal Al-Eissa, and the representative of the Job Creation Program in the
Southern Governorates, Eng. Jihad Sharaf. The workshops were presented and
facilitated by the chairman of the Institute Dr. Muhammad Odeh, Secretary of
the Institute and Editor-in-Chief of Policy Journal Dr. Abdullah Al-Najjar, and
Director of Programs at the Friedrich-Ebert- stiftung Palestine Mr.Rasmus
In her intervention entitled "The Government's Viewpoint on the Reality of the
Economy and Ambition", Farhan pointed to the role of the Israeli occupation in
impeding the growth of the Palestinian economy, which led to structural
distortions in many sectors.
She indicated that the productive sectors suffer a lot as a result of Israeli
practices, as evidenced by the presence of more than 600 checkpoints and
barriers in the West Bank, explaining that despite the occupation's measures,
the National Authority has put in place many economic policies, focusing on the
industrial and agricultural sectors.
She stated that there are many policies that the government has focused on, such
as improving the work environment and upgrading the legislative environment,
through the issuance and enactment of many laws such as the Companies Law (under
She also referred to the government's contribution to supporting the national
product, as two steering and technical committees were formed for this purpose,
adding that the ministry focuses, through its policies, on women's economic
She talked about the cluster development strategy adopted by the government,
indicating that among its advantages is a focus on the spatial dimension.
Farhan pointed to the government's interest in the issue of economic
independence, and the reduction of the amounts of imports from Israel, which
decreased from 70% to 55%, due to official efforts to promote direct imports and
diversify sources of imports, stressing, on the other hand, that upgrading the
Palestinian economy requires, in one aspect, control on the crossings.
For his part, Al-Issa stated, in his intervention on “economic disengagement”,
that the economic disengagement from the occupying state is a matter of
disagreement, between those who doubt its feasibility, and others believe in
this possibility, adding, “If disengagement for some, means not dealing
economically with the occupying state, this is difficult because of the
restrictions that are in place now."
He noted that achieving disengagement, whether gradual or through opening an
economic battle, requires the availability of several elements, such as
controlling the crossings.
He pointed to the impact of the Paris Economic Agreement on the reality of the
Palestinian economy, indicating that the agreement has turned into a tool for
stabilizing and strengthening the dependence of the Palestinian economy on its
He went on to say: There is a governmental and non-governmental failure to deal
with the economic file, for the successive governments, despite the enormous
attempts to develop the economy, there were aspects that could have been
changed, or confronted with the Israeli side, but this did not happen, such as
importing energy and other goods.
He continued: The private sector preferred to deal with the Israeli side, due to
proximity and ease, and sometimes low prices, which reinforced the internal
failure in the economy.
He also said: We import from Israel $3.6 billion annually, while we export $1
billion to Israel. Therefore, this is a disproportionate trade relationship,
adding, "We cannot talk about economic independence without political
As for Eng. Sharaf, representative of the Job Creation Program, he emphasized in
his intervention that the program adopts a strategy of transforming relief
projects and aid into development programs, and focused on creating job
opportunities and food security, pointing to the importance of the agricultural
sector on the economic level.
He pointed out, in his intervention from the Gaza Strip, that more than 80% of
the population of the Strip lives below the poverty line, while the unemployment
rate among the youth category has risen to 70%.
He said: The main reason behind the increase in food insecurity rates in the
Gaza Strip is the inability of individuals and families, there, to secure their
needs, as the rate of food insecurity in the sector in 2019 reached more than
70%, compared to 65% in 2018, according to the data issued by the United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Palestine.
He continued: The rate of suffering from food insecurity varies between severe
and moderate, and the reason for this is mainly due to the Israeli blockade
imposed on the Gaza Strip, which led to the deterioration of economic
conditions, in addition to the repercussions of the emerging Covid-19.
He reviewed some of the interventions of the "Job Creation" program to reduce
the problem of food insecurity, explaining that the program, which was
established in 1994 and has been directly supervised by the Presidential Office
since 2001, has implemented many highly operational projects.
He explained that the program implemented projects worth $80 million from 1994
to 2001, while it has implemented projects worth $67 million since its
annexation to the Gaza Strip. This amount could be doubled without the Israeli
siege and wars on the Gaza Strip.
The workshop began with a speech by Odeh, in which he referred to the
Institute's interest in helping decision makers to take decisions and measures
based on well-thought-out and systematic public policies.
He indicated the importance of focusing on the economic aspect, especially in
light of the negative problems of the "Corona" pandemic, and the need to come up
with recommendations that would benefit decision-makers, and hence the
institute's focus in its activities for the economic aspect this year.
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