More information:U.S. Assistance to the Palestinian Authority
Speaking today at the State Department in joint remarks with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (who appeared via satellite link), Secretary Clinton said, "...Now, as Prime Minister Fayyad understands so well, we have to move forward together simultaneously, and mutually reinforcing on two tracks -- the hard work of negotiations and the hard work of building institutions and capacities. We need to work with the Palestinian Authority to support their efforts to build toward a future Palestinian state that is able to govern itself, uphold its responsibilities to provide for its own people, and ensure security. Progress on this second track gives confidence to negotiators, removes excuses for delay, and underscores that the Palestinian Authority has become a credible partner for peace.
"Now, earlier this fall, I was able to visit Ramallah and see firsthand the continuing progress that the Palestinian Authority is making under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. Thanks to their hard work, the Palestinian Authority is reversing a history of corruption and producing results that actually matter and improve the lives of Palestinians. As a result, new businesses are opening, taxes are being collected, services are being delivered, security is much improved and the economy is growing.
"When you look around Ramallah and other Palestinian communities today, you see new buildings going up, professional police officers on the streets, and a sense of opportunity and purpose. In fact, the World Bank recently concluded that if the Palestinian Authority maintains its momentum in building institutions and delivering public services, it is, and I quote, 'well positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future.' So I want to congratulate President Abbas and you, Prime Minister, on everything that your government has accomplished. It is a testament to your leadership and skill as well as to the talents and determination of the Palestinian people themselves.
"Now, of course, the prime minister would be the first to say that all this progress remains tenuous and there is much more work to be done, and he would be right. Unemployment remains high, especially among young people. Smaller communities have yet to see the benefits of greater prosperity despite the increase in new businesses, the rise in tax receipts, and the generous contributions from the international community. The Palestinian Authority still faces a serious budget shortfall.
"But the United States and our international partners are committed to supporting the Palestinian Authority as it works to overcome these challenges. So today, I am pleased to announce that the United States has transferred an additional $150 million in direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority. This brings our direct budget assistance to a total of $225 million for the year and our overall support and investment to nearly $600 million this year. This figure underscores the strong determination of the American people and this Administration to stand with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times, as we have here at home.
"This new funding will help the Palestinian Authority pay down its debt, continue to deliver services and security to its people, and keep the progress going. It will support our work together to expand Palestinians' access to schools, clinics, and clean drinking water in both the West Bank and Gaza. And it will allow Prime Minister Fayyad's government to build and modernize courthouses and police stations, train judges and prosecutors, and launch new economic development initiatives.
"Strict safeguards are in place to ensure the money will be used responsibly. The United States, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund all carefully monitor the use of donor funds and we have great confidence in Prime Minister Fayyad and his ability to provide accountability and transparency.
"I am pleased that a number of our other partners have stepped forward recently and also increased their support for the Palestinian Authority. Saudi Arabia recently transferred an additional $100 million. The United Arab Emirates provided a funding infusion in September and the European Union also announced major new funding.
"On my recent trip to Asia, I was encouraged to hear widespread support for the Palestinian Authority's state building efforts underscoring, again, the global resonance of this issue. The United States will step up our work with partners like Japan, Malaysia, Australia, and others to find new ways to increase financial support for the Palestinian Authority. Now, unfortunately the Palestinian people still have some friends who prefer to support their aspirations with words rather than deeds. But that won't put food on the table, create jobs, build credible institutions, or help speed the creation of a new state. Palestinians need results, not rhetoric. And they need partners willing to invest in their future. And that is exactly what the United States is doing."
A full transcript of Secretary Clinton's remarks is available here.