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Israel Tries to Make Case that it’s Supporting Palestinian Economy

While the Palestinian Authority presented a report to nations providing it with financial assistance that claims the two-state solution is in jeopardy because the current stagnant diplomacy is “unsustainable,” Israel circulated a report of its own highlighting what it argues are tangible steps aimed at shoring up the fragile Palestinian economy. The Israeli report stressed its adherence to protocols directing the collection and transfer of tax and tariff revenue to the PA and identified 14 projects under the aegis of America’s USAID that fall inside of Area C, the Oslo Accords’ designation for the area that remains under Israeli administrative and security control. For their part, the PA argues that the continued division of the West Bank into areas A, B, and C prevents the establishment of contiguous land capable of supporting and sustaining statehood. Mass demonstrations recently appeared and spread throughout the West Bank, sparking fear among Palestinian leaders that the protests could spread to the point of jeopardizing the PA itself. The Israeli report also included the Gaza Strip, where it claimed it is now allowing materials necessary for 16 UNRWA projects to enter – the first time since it imposed a boycott in 2007 that certain materials have been allowed in. Israel and the PA are also reported to be in discussions over a joint venture to harvest natural gas off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The talks were initiated by Quartet envoy Tony Blair and theoretically could be the sort of windfall that could help alleviate the Palestinian financial crisis. At issue, though, is the Palestinian bifurcation with Hamas in control of Gaza.