Ali Waked
August 15, 2010 - 12:00am,7340,L-3936850,00.html

The Palestinian government on Sunday published a report outlining its activity in the past year. According to the document, in the past 12 months the Palestinian Authority's government, headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, marked significant achievements in the construction of government institutions and other infrastructure.

"This report is proof of our seriousness in building our state and our path to liberty," said Fayyad on Sunday with the report's release. "We have achieved a lot, and will continue to do so despite the occupation. We are building our country, for the future of our children."

Among other things, the report states that in the past year, 34 news schools were built, while the 23 existing schools in the Palestinian Authority were expanded. Eleven new clinics were opened throughout the West Bank, and 30 more were expanded.

The report also said that 44 new housing projects were launched, 16 news roads were paved, and 40 others are under renovation. In addition, the report said 370,000 trees were planted in a planned operation.

"All the Palestinian society's achievements were reached in the face of the Israeli occupation's restrictions ands obstacles. At a time when the Palestinian government was building new houses, the Israeli authorities put a rush on the demolition of houses, including in the occupied east Jerusalem," the report said.

While the PA government was busy paving new roads, according to the report, "Israel placed 500 checkpoints that still pose a significant obstacle to Palestinian freedom."

With regards to law enforcement, Fayyad's government presented high achievements, including some 88,000 court orders that were executed by the Palestinian police.

During the period the report addresses, police stations were set up in all main urban centers as well as in some other populated areas.

'Without political horizon it will all be a waste'

Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said in a talk with Ynet that "the data in the report demonstrate that we have succeeded in improving the security situation, which explains the generosity of the donor countries that have helped us achieve all this.

"We see the trust in us growing – not just among donor states, but also in the private sector and we are getting investors from there. The Palestinian citizen feels a constant improvement in his life."

Nonetheless, Khatib expressed concern that, "if real political progress is not made, all these achievements will be a waste."

Despite the growing sense in Israel that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to put off direct peace talks until the end of the settlement construction freeze, sources close to Abbas believe he may be leaning in the direction of agreeing to talks.

However, the sources stressed that they the PA would continue to demands from Israel clarifications as to a deadline for talks, their political basis, the point at which they will start, and the demand to extend the building moratorium, despite Israel's adamant declarations that the freeze will expire next month.

The sources added that the PA may be forced into direct talks without any of their demands being met, but said they would decide on how to approach the talks on September 26, the last day of the settlement construction freeze.

The Palestinians are concerned that, despite the Arab League's approval to enter direct talks, the negotiations' expected failure will cause them great damage, particularly in the leadership's reputation and in the Palestinian public's faith in peace talks.


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