The European Union has unveiled €115 million ($166.4 million) worth of new funding for state-building, education, health, and water and sanitation projects in the Palestinian territories. The assistance package also includes financial aid for businesses in the West Bank in a bid to generate jobs in the area.
The announcement of the new EU funding, which brings the bloc’s aid to the Palestinian territories to a total of €300 million, comes as the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, started distributing emergency assistance to thousands of Palestinian refugees affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, where they are currently staying.
UNRWA is distributing cash grants for medicine, food and temporary shelters to approximately 6,000 people displaced from a camp in Latakia, which has been under sustained attack from Syrian government forces over the past days, the U.N. said in a news release.
EU aid package components
The 2011 regular budget of the UNRWA is among the six priority areas to be funded by the EU’s new assistance package. The bloc has allocated €40 million to support the agency’s efforts to provide health and education services to Palestinian refugees based in camps within the territory and in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Other components of the EU aid package are:
€22 million for a water sanitation and reuse program in the West Bank.
€11 million for private sector and institutional development initiatives, particularly those related to economic development.
€20 million to support the development of the Palestinian territories’ security sector in line with priorities outlined in the Palestinian National Development Plan.
€14 million for financial governance and state-building efforts.
€8 million to support the development of community services in the East Jerusalem area.
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