22 December 2005 With a $25 million grant to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Israeli government made its first donation to a UN agency that will give the Palestinian territories an economic boost following Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Gaza Strip.
UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP) announced today that it had received the Israeli funds to clear and rehabilitate sites in the Gaza Strip that had been occupied by evacuated Israeli settlers. The money will be used to clear and recycle more than 1.2 million tons of debris and rubble that will be milled and recycled for use as road paving and building materials.
The entire project, which will employ several hundred Palestinian workers, should be wrapped up in 18 months. UNDP has promised to move as quickly as possible so Palestinians can begin rebuilding on the evacuated sites by June 2006.
“This project is important because it not only paves the way for Palestinians to be able to use the land as soon as possible for their development plans, but also because it will generate hundreds of jobs for unemployed Palestinian laborers, contributing to the fight against the rising tide of poverty in the Gaza Strip,” said the acting head of UNDP/PAPP, Minna Tyrkk.
The Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and the Office of the Special Envoy for the Quartet, James Wolfenshon, asked UNDP to undertake the rehabilitation project. “We are very pleased with the trust that all parties have place in UNDP/PAPP to carry out this task,” added Ms. Tyrkk.