Palestine question/Assistance – Japan grants emergency aid to the Palestinian territories – Japanese Govt. press release (Non-UN document)

Emergency Grant Aid to the Palestinian Territories

February 18, 2005

1. On February 18 (Fri), the Government of Japan decided to implement emergency grant aid totaling 30 million dollars through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Trust Fund for the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This assistance is a part of the 60 million dollar assistance appropriated in the supplementary budget for FY2004 to support the Middle East peace process. The supplementary budget was approved by the Diet on February 1.
2. The employment situation has worsened throughout the Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza district, since the eruption of clashes at the end of September 2000. Damage to the social infrastructure, including roads, is so severe that reconstruction is urgently needed to stabilize the people's livelihood. Following a UN consolidated appeal issued on November 11 last year for the Palestinian autonomous areas, this assistance will be provided for the total of five projects implemented by the UNDP (15 million dollars in total): Rehabilitation of Municipal Infrastructure in Beit Hanoun and Rafah, Rehabilitation of Destroyed Agricultural Sector in Northern Gaza Strip, Paving of Internal Roads in Rural Communities, Construction of Schools and Additional Classrooms, and Upgrading of Water Supply and Distribution Systems in Rural Areas; and the two projects implemented by the UNRWA (15 million dollars in total): Re-housing of Refugees Whose Shelters Were Demolished in Rafah, and Emergency Employment Creation through Rehabilitation of UNRWA Installations. It is expected that implementation of these projects will newly create job opportunities for about 2,600 Palestinian workers a day, thereby largely easing the unemployment problem.
3. At a time when a historic opportunity has emerged for the Middle East peace process under the new government of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, the Government of Japan hopes that such assistance will contribute to the improvement of livelihood of the Palestinians, who are facing economic difficulties, and also to strengthening of the new Abbas government. The Government of Japan intends to continue proactively extending assistance for Palestinians to solve the Palestinian issue, which is the key to the realization of peace in the Middle East.


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