Independent Task Force for the Strengthening of Palestinian Public Institutions

The Task Force Report on “Strengthening of Palestinian Public Institutions,” a project of the U.S./Middle East Project that was funded by the European Commission and the Government of Norway, was the first comprehensive and systematic assessment of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. Published in 1999, the study examined the Palestinian Authority’s structure and procedures, its ability to set priorities and allocate resources, and its transparency and accountability.

The goal of the study was a practical one – to determine what works, what does not work, why not, and how to fix it, providing practical and detailed guidelines for the development of sound institutions and good governance.

The Task Force’s report helped guide the efforts of the Palestinian Authority and international institutions – the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the United Nations and the international donor community – to improve the efficiency and credibility of the emerging Palestinian self-governing institutions.

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General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

General Brent Scowcroft, Eric Melby and Henry Siegman

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Israel Provoked This War

There seems to be near-universal agreement in the United States with President Barack Obama’s observation that Israel, like every other country, has the right and obligation to defend its citizens from threats directed at them from beyond its borders.

But this anodyne statement does not begin to address the political and moral issues raised by Israel’s bombings and land invasion of Gaza: who violated the cease-fire agreement that was in place since November 2012 and whether Israel’s civilian population could have been protected by nonviolent means that would not have placed Gaza’s civilian population at risk. As of this writing, the number killed by the Israel Defense Forces has surpassed 600, the overwhelming majority of whom are noncombatants.

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