La Via Campesina Palestine and UAWC Call for Drawing Lessons from the World Food Program's Decision to Reduce its Assistance to Palestine
23/12/2018Ramallah - La Via Campesina Palestine and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) urged the Palestinian government, the Palestinian civil society, and all actors in the private sector to draw lessons from the World Food Program's (WFP) decision to cut aid for the Palestinian Territories starting next year, due to lack of funding. An approximate of 193,000 citizens from the most disadvantaged groups in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be adversely affected from this decision.
In a joint statement, UAWC and La Via Campesina Palestine stressed the detrimental consequences of this decision, as cuts in aid will result in further deterioration of food security in the Palestinian territories, which the WFP indicates that food insecurity affects one third of the Palestinian population, and 70% of citizens in the Gaza Strip.
Moreover, La Via Campesina Palestine and UAWC called on the Palestinian government to draw lessons from the decision through the adoption and implementation of development policies that seek to promote a productive economy and foster resilience. Such policies should deviate from the Paris Economic Protocol, which fortified the Palestinian economy’s dependence on Israel’s economy, placed the Palestinian Territories as a market for Israel similar to Pre-Oslo times, and provided the Israeli economy with favorable market security.
In their statement, La Via Campesina Palestine and UAWC underlined that the approach to enhancing food security based on international aid will not result in tangible political and economic outcomes that strengthen the resilience of our people in the face of the occupation. On the other hand, sovereignty of the Palestinian people over their natural and food resources constitutes a crucial pathway towards liberation and freedom from occupation.
A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released earlier this year on the Palestinians’ material loss since 1967, outlines that if growth trends in the Palestinian territories were to proceed as prior to the signing of the Oslo agreement, the real GDP would have been twice that of today. In addition, the report highlights that Israeli control over areas "C" costs the Palestinian economy 35% of its total size (about $ 4,700 billion).
The statement also includes a response to the announcement by the Israeli Minister of Agriculture to stop the import of fruits and vegetables from Palestinian producers. As such, the reasoning behind this decision lies in protecting local agricultural products by blocking Palestinian fruits and vegetables from entering the Israeli market, thereby supporting inputs of agricultural production as well as agriculture that promotes food security and food sovereignty in Israel, and represents a suitable alternative to agricultural exports.