"The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is not all about money. Some think that a strong Palestinian economy will be enough to maintain stability in the West Bank, but economic growth alone will not assure a sustainable future," said Robert Serry,
the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.
Speaking this week during the closing ceremony of ISRAMUN 2012 (Israel International Model United Nations) at the College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS) in Rishon Lezion, Serry said, "Indeed, in the last few years we have seen considerable economic growth in the Palestinian territories, and relative stability, including unprecedented security cooperation. Yet economic growth alone will not assure a sustainable future. This is because the Palestinian Authority
is quickly, in my view, losing its legitimacy in the eye of the public, if it is not able to bring also the political goal forwards – the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security."
In his keynote address, the UN official added, "As we have witnessed lately in the region, no political institution can survive if it rests only on economics and lacks political legitimacy. Without a political path that leads to the creation of a viable Palestinian state that lives side by side with Israel in
peace and security, I’m afraid the Palestinian institutions will become unsustainable and eventually collapse."
"I still believe that if we can revive the peace process, we can consolidate the achievements of the Palestinian Authority to the benefit of the Palestinians, but also to the Israelis and to all people in the region,” Serry claimed.
The UN official praised the ISRAMUN program and voiced hope that the participants will continue in their careers toward public leadership, working together to find solutions to the world’s most press challenges.
"I believe that the efforts invested in ISRAMUN will bring great dividends, not only for the College and the participants, but also to Israel, the UN, and the whole international community," Serry said.
"The challenges that the international community encounters – from global warming to financial instability and migration – have an increasingly international nature and need global answers and expanding international cooperation. The UN is the main forum where these global issues are tackled, and preparing the next generation of international leaders to master UN diplomacy, as ISRAMUN does so well, is indeed very important. This is all the more critical for young Israelis, given the role the United Nations fulfills in the region and in Israel’s international relations. I hope to see some of you – ISRAMUN alumni – working for the UN one day."
Some 170 foreign and Israeli students took part in ISRAMUN 2012. The theme of this year’s program was "It’s Not All About the Money."