By M, Raja
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs , Vol. XII, No. 6
Oussama Kanaan Speaks at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine
The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine (CPAP) hosted a luncheon meeting with Oussama Kanaan, an economist at the International Monetary Fund, on the Palestinian economy after Oslo on July 10 in Washington, DC.
Noting that since the signing of the Oslo accords the economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has deteriorated dramatically. Dr. Kanaan argued that the accords do not provide an independent Palestinian economy as many have assumed. This is illustrated by the labor situation, one of the most fundamental issues for the Palestinians, with one-fifth of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank GNP coming from workers employed in Israel.
Dr. Kanaan said that Oslo calls upon both the Israeli and Palestinian signatories to normalize the movement of labor across their borders, while retaining the right to regulate such movements into their own areas of jurisdiction. Such an agreement sounded "fair" to the original Palestinian negotiating team, Dr. Kanaan said, noting that indeed it "appears very fair and gives both sides equal rights." In fact, however, the agreement is unfair because it does not take into account the economic dependence of the Palestinians upon the Israeli economy, he explained.
Dr. Kanaan warned that unless the Palestinians address the issues of the Palestinian seaport and airport in Gaza, the Palestinian economy will stay largely dependent on the Israeli economy. "There has to be direct involvement of the (largely-European) donor community to accelerate the opening of the seaport and the airport," he said. …