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Reader's Letter: Christians in Bethlehem – Wally Leaf To: DAILY MAIL

Take-A-Pen to The International Development Committee of the House of Commons (Updated on June 3, 2007)

The International Development Committee of the House of Commons the Committee commendably keeps me informed about their work.  This is a continuation of Take-A-Pen's three major submissions to this Committee in the past (about Israeli-Palestinian co-operation in Water and Sewage research and construction projects and about suggested management and budget control changes of Palestinian development projects financed of UK aid, so that these projects serve better political solutions and finally peace).

But, less commendably, we have never been contacted by the committee that we witness on issues we submitted professional expert studies, Nr. 7 & 9 on the Committee's list, see below.

You can read the Committee's News Release below.

Though there were some improvements in this respect, however, unfortunately, from the title and opening sentences it seems as if the International Development Committee of the House of Commons is still continuing to pursue an anti-Israeli political agenda instead the Committee's original goal: "assistance to developing economies". The short Press release is loaded with non-agreed Palestinian propaganda terms - instead of using the accepted professional language of planning, management and financing, about issues the Palestinian economy and society would really need.

 

For example the term 'Occupied Palestinian Territories' is arguable in itself, but to call the Gaza strip - from where Israel evacuated all its soldiers and citizens more than two years ago - 'occupied territory' is simply misleading. So is the use of the word 'Palestine', a country which many may wish to exist but factually it does not.

Clause 7 is defined as "The control that the network of settlements in the occupied territories has over the basic conditions for the development of the Palestinian economy: agricultural land, water, movement of persons and goods, environmental impacts." This whole Clause 7 is a political distortion of the economic essentials. The clause speaks of the Palestinian economy, while it is totally irrelevant to Gaza strip where there is not one single Israeli.  Relating to the West Bank too no sober person can seriously mean that the discontinuously dispersed Israeli settlements in Judea and Shomron with less than 120,000 mostly deeply religious inhabitants can "control" the economy of almost  3,000,000 Arab Palestinian population there.

 

The Committee claims it wants to promote "the role of development assistance in supporting political solutions to the conflict" . The first step towards this, we believe, is to use professional,  balanced and moderate language instead of worn-out political  propaganda clichés which only paralyse creative problem-solving thinking. The improvement in the terminology we have seen recently must go much further.

 ( Endre Y. Mozes,  Take-A-Pen, http://www.take-a-pen.org/ )

International Development Committee News Release

Committee Office, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA

 Committee Contact: Dr Anna Dickson 020 7219 2738

Internet site: file://www.parliament.uk/indcom

PN 62, Session 2005-06

Attn: News Desks: Political, Foreign, Diplomatic Correspondents  -  26 October 2006

 

- PRESS NOTICE -

Second evidence session

Development Assistance and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Tuesday 31 October, Committee Room 6

At 10.30:       William Bell, Advocacy Officer, Christian Aid, Henry Grunwald, QC, President, Board of Deputies of British Jews, Floresca Karanasou, Middle East Programme Manager, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, and Manal Omar, Regional Programme Manager, Oxfam

The International Development Committee last reported on development in the Occupied Territories in its report "Development assistance and the Occupied Palestinian Territories", HC 230-I, published in 2004. The political and development context has changed significantly since the Hamas election victory in January. The Committee is therefore returning to the subject. The key questions now are:

  • what are the implications of the Hamas election victory? 
  • what has been the impact on poverty / the humanitarian situation?
  • how best can development be achieved in this context?
  • how effectively have the UK, World Bank and EC responded to the new reality?

The inquiry will review developments since its last report. In particular it will address the following issues:

1. The impact of the suspension of aid to the Palestinian Authority and the impact of the temporary international mechanism for Palestinian basic needs, agreed by the Quartet and the European Council.

2. The impact on Palestinian development of Association Agreements between the EU and Israel/Palestine

3. The challenges faced by the UN in addressing humanitarian affairs in the Palestinian territories and in service provision, and its effectiveness in meeting those challenges.

4. The impact on development in the Palestinian Territories of Israel's disengagement from Gaza and the possibility of further disengagement from parts of the West Bank.

5.The impact on Palestinian trade, employment, and economic development of customs duties and taxes levied by Israel or those collected by Israel on behalf of the PA at Israeli ports and airports and points of entry to the West Bank and Gaza.

6. The impact of the separation barrier and other controls on the movement of goods and people on employment, poverty, economic development and on the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

7 The control that the network of settlements in the occupied territories have over the basic conditions for the development of the Palestinian economy: agricultural land, water, movement of persons and goods, environmental impacts.

8. The role of civil society, including NGOs, in ensuring a broad popular participation in the development of Palestinian society.

9. The role of development assistance in supporting political solutions to the conflict.

10. Future development needs of a Palestinian state and the potential for its economic cooperation with Israel.

 

Detailed enquiries to Dr Anna Dickson, Committee Specialist on 020 7219 2738 or Dicksonak@parliament.uk

 

Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Barrett MP (Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Quentin Davies MP (Con), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh (Lab).

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589 or patersona@parliament.uk

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: file://www.parliamentlive.tv/

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