State of Palestine
Mr. President, I avail myself on behalf of his Excellency Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of Palestine whose office in Rammalh is subjected to Israeli occupation and siege. Allow me first to convey his sincere regards and admiration for your respectable summit, wishing you every success towards achieving sustainable development for all the free nations of the world.
I would like to thank the Preparatory Committee for the excellent handling and management of the sessions of this summit. I also would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the State of South Africa: president, government and people for hosting this important global gathering and for the continuous political, spiritual and financial assistance to the Palestinian people who are suffering under occupation.
Since its establishment in 1994, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has worked hard to meet the Palestinian people's social and economic demands, taking into consideration protecting the environment and achieving sustainable development.
The PNA established an institutional framework based upon democracy, equality and social justice. It separated between legislative authority, executive authority and judicial authority; this was insured through PNA's constitution of the transitional period or what is known as the basic law.
The PNA has worked very hard in building the ministries, authorities and various agencies along with building the capacity of human resources in order to deal with the challenges of building the new Palestinian state and to rehabilitate what has been destroyed by the Israeli occupation.
Laws and legislations were developed to organize and manage the different sectors such as water, environment, education, health, industry, trade, tourism and others.
The PNA has set up strategic development plans based on landuse frameworks
in both Gaza strip and West Bank. It has started implementing strategic
plans in various fields like environment, health, agriculture, tourism
and water with the assistance of international donors.
In education, 145 new schools were built, classrooms were added, existing schools were maintained and scientific institutions were rehabilitated.
The higher education institutions have wittiness a unique development presented in opening new scientific faculties, adding new buildings in most of Palestinian universities, focusing on vocational training and encouraging scientific research towards the development process.
In the social welfare sector, in order to combat unemployment and to alleviate poverty, PNA has created jobs for thousands of Palestinians. Several special programs were established to rehabilitate more than 6,000 prisoners in the Israeli jails, more than 50,000 injured in the current uprising and to help needy families.
Achievements have been realized in the industrial sector. The first industrial estate has been constructed in the Gaza strip and another one is under construction in the West Bank to attract local and foreign investment. Furthermore, the PNA has encouraged the local industries to transfer and use new technologies, adopting clean production methods and developing environmental management systems.
In order to develop and increase public awareness among the Palestinians, PNA has encouraged local institutions and non-governmental organizations to take its responsibilities in the developmental process.
PNA has implemented several large scale infrastructure projects in different sectors including water, sewage system, road networks, energy, communication, housing, environment, airport and seaport.
The PNA has stressed in its environmental law that environment is a higher national value and a basic human right. In addition, it is stated in the basic law that every Palestinian has the right to live in a clean and safe environment.
An environmental model based on strategic vision: to think globally, cooperate regionally, plan nationally and act locally was set. In addition, the environmental strategy for the coming 10 years and the environmental action plan were set in 2000 focusing on priorities in the coming three years.
Great efforts have been exerted by PNA in combating desertification, protecting wetlands, biodiversity, coastal management and preserving the Mediterranean from land-based pollution sources.
The PNA also has set up programs to monitor the quality of air and groundwater
and to minimize pollution. It also participates in several international
and regional forums especially those related to environmental agreements
and conventions that will be ratified when the Palestinian State is declared.
Due to Israeli violations of all international environmental humanitarian conventions, negating the fact that environment has no borders; all our efforts, unfortunately, have been wasted and thus paralyzing every aspect of the Palestinian life.
In spite of the fourth Geneva Convention which calls on protecting civilians and their property in time of war, Israeli forces killed more than 1,700 Palestinians including 500 children and 100 women, injured more than 30,000 others, destroyed 10,000 homes and damaged several hospitals, clinics and ambulances. Thousands of civilians were illegally arrested without trials in inhumane conditions.
Israeli forces have committed massacres against civilians in Jenin, Nablus and recently in Gaza City. Israeli forces have launched an unjustified war of assassination full of hatred and racial discrimination and killed more than 200 Palestinians. Moreover, it imposed a policy of exile on Palestinians neglecting all international conventions.
Whilst serious international efforts are exerted to combat desertification, improve green cover, reduce climate change, combat global warming, achieve food security, decrease poverty rate in rural areas, reduce migration of rural population to urban areas, Israel have demolished and destroyed more than 10,000 hectares of agricultural land and greenhouses and uprooted more than a million tree. Theses devastating practices have endangered the life of thousands of Palestinian families and caused a severe food shortages.
Consequently, and despite the International consensus on global poverty alleviation, 64% of the Palestinian population is living under poverty line compared to 22% in 1998. In addition, unemployment rates have exceeded 60% of total working force.
Despite the strong global concern on biodiversity for its social, economic and environmental values, Israeli military forces have brutally killed and buried alive more than 1 S 0,000 birds, sheep, cattle and thousands of beehives. In addition, the occupation has destroyed almost all of the natural conservation areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
While it is an International important concern to enhance woman and child role in the developmental process, the Palestinian woman is subjected to the most severe, inhumane conditions of humiliation, killing and persecution by the Israeli forces. The occupation forces took the life of more than 100 women. Several women were forced to give birth at Israeli military roadblocks and others died because they were not allowed to reach the hospitals.
Around 361,600 women in the fertile age are suffering from anemia. Israeli
forces have killed 500 children and arrested thousands who are subjected
to the utmost conditions of mistreatment and torture. Poverty rates have
reached a dangerous level where about 274,600 children (age 6-96 months)
are suffering from malnutrition and anemia.
Consequently, serious environmental and heath negative impacts which endanger the Palestinian life and well-beings. In addition, they have destroyed sewage networks and sewage treatment plants, prevented maintenance of the plants, which have resulted in the discharge of sewage into the Mediterranean without proper treatment. In addition, in 26/03/2001 Israel has intentionally discharged five million cubic meter of polluted sewage water into the Gaza Strip by breaking a reservoir which was built uphill very close to the borders between Gaza Strip and Israel in order to store the sewage water of Tel Aviv area.
While PNA is developing the industrial sector by implementing clean production technologies, Israeli forces have destroyed more than 3,000 industrial workshops and factories.
After PNA has implemented several infrastructure projects in water, swage system, roads, communications, energy, seaport and the airport towards achieving sustainable development with donors' help, Israeli occupation has destroyed these projects in order to devastate the Palestinian economy and to prevent the Palestinians from achieving sustainable development, where the Palestinian economic losses have reached more than $ 8 billion.
The Israeli hostile aggression has damaged, endangered and destroyed the Palestinian most historic, cultural and religious places with no respect to the most sacred value of our mosques and churches especially the Church of Nativity.
Although Israel is one of the countries, which signed Basel convention
on control and transport of toxic and hazardous wastes and materials across
borders, Israel does not abide by the provision of the convention and smuggles
these hazardous materials into the occupied Palestinian territories, for
For many years, Israeli occupation authorities have confiscated wide areas of the Palestinian agricultural lands to construct their colonies and bypass roads. Their mismanagement of solid wastes had caused grave damages to the Palestinian environment. Israel also steal the Palestinian water and give them only 18% of their rights compared to Israeli water consumption. In addition, the Israeli occupation is continuously placing Palestinian cities and villages under siege and behind barricades and large concrete blocks. In this inhumane aggression, the occupation has been using American F16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, tanks and heavy artillery. With no regard to any of the international human rights conventions, Israel has used internationally forbidden weapons including toxic gases, tear gases, depleted uranium in its war against the Palestinian civilians population.
Despite all the obstacles that are facing the PNA and the continuos
Israeli aggression using its military supremacy in order to eliminate the
basis of development in Palestine and the disruption of peace and security
in the region, the PNA is committed to achieve sustainable development.
On the social level:
I thank you for listening and for your kind attention