International Development Secretary announces £2.2 million for Palestinian basic needs – UK press release/Non-UN documnt


INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY, HILARY BENN, ANNOUNCES
A FURTHER £2.2 MILLION FOR PALESTINIAN BASIC NEEDS
Around 70,000 unpaid Palestinian public sector workers, including teachers and healthcare workers, will benefit from a £2.2m cash injection for allowances from the UK today. Public sector workers have suffered almost eleven months without reliable pay.

Announcing the funding, International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn said:

“The economic situation for Palestinians in the West Bank and, particularly, Gaza remains desperately hard. Teachers, nurses, and others essential to delivering services to the Palestinian people have received little or none of their salaries for the past eleven months. They are struggling to make ends meet and this affects not only them and their families, but also the Palestinian population who rely on the services they provide.

“The UK has now contributed a total of £12 million since July 2006 to meet Palestinian basic needs through the EU’s Temporary International Mechanism. But while aid will make a vital difference to people’s livelihoods, as long as the violence, the closures and the restrictions on access continue, so will the suffering. The continuing conflict between Fatah and Hamas is of grave concern. We need a long term two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinian people, which we continue to work towards.”

The total UK contribution of £12 million through the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) for Palestinian basic needs is being used to fund essential health supplies, pay allowances to the poorest Palestinian public sector workers, and improve water, sanitation and electricity services.

The TIM has to date disbursed £100 million from donors and has delivered:

• over 4 million litres of fuel to keep water, sanitation and health care facilities running;
allowances for over 70 000 Palestinian Government workers, and
welfare payments to over 72 000 of the poorest Palestinians.

A further £16 million will be disbursed at the beginning of February. This will include the UK’s latest £2.2 million contribution.

Donor funding through the TIM has been essential to slow the economic decline which for 2006 is now estimated at -9% rather than -27% as predicted at the start of last year. The EU (Community and Member States) increased its aid by 27% in 2006 to £442 million. However, tackling the PA’s fiscal crisis will require Israel to release Palestinian clearance revenues.

Notes to editors
1. The new £2.2m payment to the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) will provide allowances to around 80,000 public sector workers, including teachers and nurses. Since April 2006 public sector workers employed by the Palestinian Authority have received basic allowance payments. Since July, allowance payments to the poorest PA workers have been covered by EU and Norwegian funding.

2. The UK has contributed a total of £12 million through the TIM: £3 million for essential health supplies; £3 million for operating, maintenance and repair costs for water, sanitation and electricity services; £5.875 million for allowances for public sector workers and £125,000 in technical assistance.

3. The TIM is needed because donors cannot fund the government until they meet the Quartet principles of giving up violence, recognising Israel’s right to exist and signing up to previous peace agreements. It followed an original proposal by the Department for International Development. The European Union established the TIM to support the basic needs of the Palestinian people including health, education, social affairs, fuel and utilities.

4. The European Community is contributing €167.5 million (£104 million) to the mechanism. Through its direct £12m contribution plus its share of European Community aid, the UK will be contributing up to as much as £18.8 million. Other European Union Member States are also making contributions. The mechanism is open to any donor that wishes to contribute.

5. The UK is a long term provider of aid to Palestinians, having given over £370 million since the start of the Oslo peace process. The UK made a contribution of £15 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in April, which provides basic services for Palestinian Refugees in Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the Middle East. The TIM provides a way to help non refugees. The UK is also providing assistance to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to enable it to monitor closely the humanitarian situation in Gaza to assist donors and others to make sure help gets to those who need it most.
ENDS
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Document Type: Press Release
Document Sources: Temporary International Mechanism (TIM)
Country: United Kingdom
Subject: Assistance, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem
Publication Date: 09/02/2007
2019-03-12T19:35:21-04:00
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