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Palestinian Premier Says State in the Making

On the eve of the resumption of direct peace talks with the Israelis, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced some of the advancements his office has made toward his two-year goal of laying the institutional foundations for a Palestinian state. Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Fayyad said that in the past year the PA has opened 34 new schools, launched 44 new housing projects and paved 16 roads. “We have achieved a lot, and will continue to do so despite the occupation,” he was quoted as saying. Fayyad said they plan yet to strengthen the justice system, build a network of prisons, reinforce anti-corruption measures, modernize health and education provision, empower women and reconstruct or build airports in the West Bank and Gaza. Fayyad also said the PA was able to increase tax revenue by 20 percent.