To facilitate progress toward a future where the states of Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peace, security and prosperity, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launched the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership (UPP) in December of last year. One of the primary functions of this public-private partnership was to attract private investment from U.S. companies to the Palestinian territories.
On October 14, 2008, the UPP organized the Palestinian Business and Investment Forum, which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended along with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and approximately 150 American and Palestinian business leaders.
"As we look to the future," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in her address to the forum, "it is important to recognize that this steady on-the-ground progress that is being made by Palestinians is only going to ultimately succeed if we can also create an economically viable Palestinian state."
During the Forum, U.S. companies and their Palestinian partners announced several promising initiatives, including the opening of a $500 million mortgage lending facility in the West Bank; the establishment of information and technology centers and networks; and potentially increasing the export of Palestinian olive oil and greenhouse herbs. One U.S. company announced a gift of $10 million to train Palestinian business leaders, another donated 900 computers to Palestinian youth centers, while another announced a commitment of more that $1.5 million in technology and services to a call center development project to help create 600 new job opportunities for Palestinians.