Statement of Anna Balletbò, President of Olof Palme International Foundation

United Nations Office in Vienna. June 27-28th 2006

Mister Chairman, ladies, gentlemen.

First of all, we welcome this meeting and we hope that we all and specially United Nations will be able to implement and enforce the conclusions and recommendations.

Our organisation is working in the field. We are in Palestine since 1993. We have built, implement and supervise an Orphans Residence in Gaza and a Spanish-Palestinian High Training Institute. Because of the situation, we are now facing many difficulties.

In the Residence Alkarama-FIOP-Palestine there are around 70 boys and girls. The professors and tutors are not being paid their salaries and the director does not receive the budget to cover meals and other necessities of the orphans.

Our Institute gives palestinian titles and also titles from the University of Barcelona. It has been a big success, but we are now losing students, boys and girls, because they can not pay the fees.

How can we help building Peace if we can not work to give hope for a better future to the youth? Why international community did not find a way to support projects like that using NGO like ours to transfer money instead to punish civil society if they wanted to press Hamas’ new government?

What are we pushing now the Ministers of Hamas Government to pass through Rafa’s border with suitcases full of million dollars?

What are we really doing?

People in Gaza and Cisjordania can not understand why we have urged to make democratic election and after they have done so we blamed and punish them because they have voted what we now don’t like. Were they not free to exercise the right of vote with liberty?

Democracy is based in consensus and there can not be consensus over unilateral decision, because consensus means talks and also have discussions.

Our delegate in Gaza told me already one year ago what disengagement really means. For him, and I agreed, unilateral disengagement and the wall mean not only to disconect Israel from Cisjordania and Gaza; it also means the disengagement between the Palestinians of Cisjordania and those of Gaza and, in the times coming, to build two different communities. This is a big danger because there is no connexion between the two territories.

Finally we agreed that the new government should condemn violence and terrorism, recognise the right of Israel State to exist and recognise previous Oslo agreements.

But we wonder why we do not urge Israel also to declare that they have already give up the idea of “Great Israel”. We know Olmert pragmatic politics is on that way, so… why not a declaration? And also to condemn violence against civilian from Israel Army. And finally to recognise also previsous Oslo agreements.

Peace will only be possible if we try with more equity the two plates of the balance.

Thank you very much

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