Steps to a two state solution: For Israel, for Palestine, for peace
Step Twenty Eight: Action by international donors to improve Palestinian governance
A viable, democratic Palestinian state rests on the strength, transparency and accountability of the institutions of Palestinian governance. This is vital for the Palestinian people. And it is vital if Israel is to be convinced that a partner for peace exists that can both speak for the Palestinian people and, by negotiating on their behalf, come to an agreement which will be upheld and honoured.
Recent polling indicates the Palestinian people’s widespread lack of confidence in the PA. Perceptions of corruption in PA institutions stand at 84 percent; 60 percent of people in the West Bank believe they cannot criticise the PA without fear; and less than 40 percent view the PA as an asset. Asked about the two main problems confronting the Palestinians today, the largest group – 30% – in the West Bank cited corruption in the PA, with unemployment and poverty in second place. Confidence in the ability of prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government to deliver economic improvement and new presidential and legislative elections is low. Confidence in the judicial system also remains weak – a critical factor both for tackling crime but also for improving both security and the prospects of economic investment and reform.
While many of these problems are long-standing, the six-year premiership of former prime minister Salam Fayyad – as well as his prior stint as finance minister – saw the introduction of extensive plans for state building through institutional reform and the modernisation of public and security services. Moreover, although Fayyad’s progress in tackling corruption and economic reform stalled after he left office in 2013, a series of reform plans published by the then government aimed at building public confidence in transparent, competent and corruption-free governance institutions remain relevant. In particular, steps to introduce and safeguard the political neutrality of the judiciary and anti-corruption bodies are a key foundation upon which further future reforms can be built.