Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, has unveiled a plan for
building the institutions and infrastructure of an independent
The ambitious 65-page document calls for a new international airport
in the Jordan Valley and rail links to neighbouring states, as well
as changes to the economy that would free it from its reliance on
"The Palestinian government is
struggling determinedly against a hostile occupation regime ... in
order to establish a de facto state apparatus within the next two
years," Fayyad announced in the West Bank on Tuesday.
"We must confront the whole world with the reality that Palestinians
are united and steadfast in their determination to remain on their
homeland, end the occupation and achieve their freedom and
The objectives set out in the plan are
aimed to be implemented over the next two years and would
effectively create a de facto functioning Palestinian state, with or
without the co-operation of Israel.
Al Jazeera's Nour Odeh, reporting from Ramallah, said: "What he is
trying to do, according to his close aides, is first of all show
that the Palestinians are pro-active ... that they are working to be
ready for sovereignty.
"And at the same time send a very
clear message to all those that have said that the Palestinians have
done enough to prepare themselves to govern, to fulfil their
security obligations and so on."
The Palestinians want an independent
state on all the territories occupied by Israel during the 1967
Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
But Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli
prime minister, has refused to commit to beginning negotiations on a
Talks between the two sides have been stalled since Israel launched
a 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip last December, which killed at
least 1,400 Palestinians.
Netanyahu's spokesman, said on Monday that a "political process" is
"due to begin in about two months' time".
However, Mahmoud Abbas, the
Palestinian president, has said any resumption of talks must be
accompanied by a pledge to halt settlement activity in the occupied
The US has been pushing for a freeze on settlement activity, but so
far Netanyahu has refused to commit and officials said that there
was "no breakthrough" expected when the Israeli prime minister met
Gordon Brown, his British counterpart, on Tuesday.
The Palestinian plan speaks of building infrastructure, securing
energy sources and water, as well as improving housing, education,
It also states that the size of the
government should be trimmed and the legal system, which is
currently a mix of British, Jordanian, Israeli and Ottoman laws, be
The document contains few details of how the objectives will be
achieved, but it does suggest that tax breaks will be offered for
the foreign investment that would be desperately needed to get the
plan off the ground.
"The government will work on encouraging investment in Palestine
through offering tax cuts to local and foreign investors [and] will
review investment regulations and remove obstacles that hinder
investment," the Reuters news agency quoted the document as saying.
"Our national duty stipulates that we should do whatever we can to
get our economy out of the cycle of dependency and alienation."
Naser Abdel Karim, an economist at Ramallah's Bir Zeit University,
told Al Jazeera that the document was "very ambitious", but would
ultimately struggle to improve the situation while Israeli
restrictions remained on the Palestinian territories.
"Without addressing the issue of
border closures and internal closures we cannot talk about a relief
of Palestinian living conditions or changing the Palestinian
economy," he said.
"The framework of Mr Fayyad has laid
out exactly the right way. We need to end the occupation, but first
we need to build a state, then end the occupation, then the
Palestinian economy can prosper."