Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press
Release Date June 1999
Price $5.00 paper
Task Force Report No. 22
The Palestinian Authority (PA) must improve its ability to govern democratically and effectively—and do so urgently—or risk losing the support of its people, according to this independent Task Force report.
The independent Task Force believes that the PA has made significant achievements to date, but recommends that it go much further in building a more participatory political system and pluralist civil society, as well as developing a free-market economy and sustainable growth. The report notes that although “the PA has achieved levels of service delivery, revenue mobilization, financial accountability, and utilization of international assistance that are at least commensurate with, and in some aspects exceed, those in countries of comparable development and income...much remains to be done.” Specifically, the PA should adopt a constitution; establish accountability for the executive branch to the legislature; centralize all public revenues and expenditures in the Ministry of Finance; and ensure the independence of the judiciary.
Opinion polls among Palestinians show “dissatisfaction with the level of public services, a perception of waste and corruption in the public administration and police, and a loss of faith in the institutions of governance, particularly the Palestinian Legislative Council and the judiciary.”
Confidence in the PA’s institutions affects its contest for legitimacy with radical elements that reject the Oslo accords and claim to do a better job than the PA at delivering certain services to the Palestinian people. This confidence bears on the PA’s ability to negotiate and compromise with Israel and affects Israel’s confidence in the PA’s ability to implement agreements. Good governance is therefore a necessary condition for the success of the peace process. The report, after conducting a comprehensive assessment of the public institutions of the PA, their structure and procedures, and their transparency and accountability, offers a number of steps the PA can take to remedy its problems.