A new aid package awaits Palestinians living inside and outside the Palestinian territories. On Friday (Sept. 14), the European Commission announced a €100 million ($131 million) package to boost water, public services and infrastructure in these areas.
Part of the money — €11,500,000 — will go to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. It will help provide for the education, health and other needs of Palestinian refugees in West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, according to a press release. The rest of the aid package will be spent as follows:
€8,000,000 for the improvement of public buildings and housing in East Jerusalem. Majority of the funds will be for nongovernmental organizations.
€11,000,000 for boosting water supply and solid waste management services in Gaza.
€11,200,000 for private sector support in West Bank and Gaza, with a focus on agriculture.
€20,500,000 for governance and support for social sector institutions.
€31,000,000 in support of the Palestinian Authority’s reform agenda. Part of the money will also be used to pay for public employees’ salaries.
Meanwhile, the remaining €7,000,000 will be channeled to relevant Palestinian Authority ministries in Area C in West Bank. The money will be used to provide training and expertise to create master plans to build much-needed infrastructure in the area. A “significant portion” of the funds will go to NGOs, European Commission Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy press officer Anca Paduraru told Devex in an email.
“We hope that the Financing Agreements will be signed in the coming weeks” so “we can start to implement the activities (calls for tenders, proposals etc) before the end of the year,” she said.
This new European Union approach aims to increase Palestinians’ chances of constructing buildings in the area, where demolitions due to lack of permits have become commonplace.
“The Israeli authorities claim that structures are demolished because they lack building permits. However, the reality is that it is next to impossible for Palestinians to obtain such permits,” OCHA head for the Palestinian territories Ramesh Rajasingham told IRIN in July. A large part of Area C is under the control of the Israeli government.
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