01 Mar 2007
Governance, Policy & Institutional Strengthening
Valuation & Taxation
Posted01 Mar 2007
As mentioned in Newsletter No 9, LEI was successful in its bid to undertake the Policy Studies Component of the Palestinian National Authority’s Land Administration Project. After some delay created by the general strike by Palestinian Authority employees over the non-payment of their salaries (due to the freezing of funds following the election success of the Hamas Islamic Party in March 2006) the inception period finally kicked off in January 2007.
The Inception period was bought to a successful conclusion in February with agreement on: the scope of the policy studies and resulting National Land Policy (NLP) Framework; arrangements for Project oversight and management; extent and structure for stakeholder participation; and practical arrangements for international and national consultant coordination.
The policy studies to be undertaken between February and August 2007 are:
These studies will be consolidated into a National Land Policy Framework that will set out:
Significant challenges remain to ensuring appropriate consultation for the policy studies given the political situation and the practical difficulties posed by Israeli checkpoints in moving freely in and between the West Bank and Gaza. These difficulties will be countered to some extent by having national consultants carrying out interviews in Gaza and by video conferences. For consultation on the draft NLP Framework there will opportunity for participation through reading and commenting via the internet.
Of greater question is whether the Mecca Agreement on a National Unity Government of Hamas and Fatah will provide a stable and sustainable high level Land Policy Task Force (LPTF) that can oversee the policy formulation process and take decisions to a functioning Cabinet for deliberation and decision on national land policy.
Just this month (March) Ghassam Khatib, a former Palestinian Minister who is now Vice President of Bir Zeit University talked about signs that West Bank and Gaza were drifting apart. He told United Press International: “There is a very, very dangerous process of separation in all levels, economic, social, legislative and political”.
The international community must do all it can to prevent this drift apart. As it once bought pressure to bear on South Africa to dismantle its apartheid state, it must now bring pressure to bear on Israel to dismantle its apartheid processes and structures.
Provided by Rae Porter
West Bank Gaza (Palestine)