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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 14 September 2012

The European Commission announces new large-scale support the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The European Commission has today announced new funding of €100 million for Palestine in the areas of water and sanitation and supporting refugees, as well as a package of support to Area C (the part of the West Bank under direct Israeli occupation), amongst other things. The EU is the largest donor to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle today commented: "The decision shows our commitment to help the people of Palestine in the areas which are vital to their everyday lives, such as water, public services and infrastructure. It also shows our determination to do all we can to support Palestinian refugees living outside the OPT– providing them with an education and access to essential healthcare and social services."

The new funding will specifically go towards improving the quality of water and solid waste management in Gaza, reducing salinity and increasing access to water, as well as working with other donors on land-fill and sanitary solid-waste disposal.

Additional funding for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNWRA) will provide support on education, health, relief and social services for Palestine refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Area C in the OPT contains natural resources and land which are crucial to the future economic growth of a Palestinian state. It is currently almost impossible for Palestinians and international donors to obtain building permits in the area, and community buildings and essential basic infrastructure (like rainwater harvesting cisterns) are regularly demolished. The EU's new funding will provide training and expertise, to help the relevant Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministries to plan and build new infrastructure and enable people to reclaim and rebuild their land there.

A further tranche of the new funding will go towards providing public services in East Jerusalem, where it will improve the conditions of Palestinian public buildings and housing in the historic urban core of the city by working with local Palestinian civil society and international organisations.

The new assistance will also help to provide technical assistance to the PA to improve public financial management, the rule of law and the development of the private sector, with a particular emphasis on agriculture, both in Gaza and the West Bank.

Today's package is worth €100m and brings the EU's aid to the OPT for 2012 to a total of €200 million, to which a further €100 million of 2011 credits to be spent in 2012 should be added. This money is part of the assistance provided under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). This is the main financial and cooperation instrument though which the funding is given to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries and Russia.

Background

This package focused on seven priority areas, which are as follows:

Land development and basic infrastructure in Area C (€7,000,000)

Building on the political momentum of the EU Report on Area C and as a first concrete step in its implementation, this action aims to support the Palestinian presence and to promote social and economic development in Area C, which is a necessary prerequisite for the "Two-State Solution" to the Middle East Peace Process, and a cornerstone of EU policy.

Support for the delivery of community services in East Jerusalem (€8,000,000)

The EU has never recognised the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel. It continues to support actions in East Jerusalem, particularly involving the highly marginalised neighbourhoods and the improvement of the conditions of Palestinian public buildings and housing in the historic urban core of the city.

Sustainable management of natural resources in Gaza (€11,000,000)

The action focuses on improvement in the quality and efficiency in water supply service and in solid waste management services.

For water supply, this intervention has been prepared in co-ordination with the World Bank's Gaza Water Supply and Rehabilitation and Expansion Project, which itself is built on the previous Gaza Emergency Water Project.

Support for the private sector in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (€11,200,000)

Economic growth in the occupied Palestinian territory will only be sustainable if driven by the private sector. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has made private sector development a national priority. This is reflected in the "Palestinian National Plan" (PNP) for the years 2011-13.

In Gaza, the EU assessment suggested focusing on the agricultural sector, seriously damaged by Israeli actions, and in need of significant support. In the West-Bank, the EU assessment proposed a focus on farmers and agri-businesses directly affected by actions of the Israeli army or settlers.

Contribution to UNRWA's 2012 Regular Budget – 2nd tranche (€11,500,000)

The overall objective of the action is to provide support to the education, health, relief and social services programmes of the UNRWA.

Support for governance / rule of law and social sector institutions (€20,500,000)

This action supports the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee to follow up the achievements of the PA in the reform and modernisation of the cash transfer programme and in moving towards a more comprehensive, equitable and sustainable social protection system.

PEGASE1 2012: Support for the recurrent expenditure of the Palestinian Authority – Part II (€31,000,000)

This package will support the Palestinian National Development Plan by helping the PA to: finance its budget deficit and implement its reform agenda; meet its obligations towards civil employees, pensioners and poorest citizens, and maintain the functioning of the administration and the provision of essential public services to the population.

For more info:

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Peter Stano (+32 2 295 74 84)

Anca Paduraru (+32 2 296 64 30)

1 :

French acronyme for Mécanisme "Palestino-Européen de Gestion et d'Aide Socio-Economique".


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