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Fayyad promises support to villages beyond the wall

Feb. 19, 2010 7:14 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 20, 2010 5:22 P.M.)
Jenin – Ma'an – One of the villages benefiting from Prime Minister Salam Fayyad 58 million dollars in development projects, officially opened in Jenin Thursday, was served with nine demolition warnings as the Palestinian official delivered congratulatory speeches.

"We will not stop work on the homes," head of the Barta'a Sharqiya village council Ghassan Qabbaha said Friday, "in fact, e have hired lawyers to make sure the homes have permits, and we are filing a petition to have more of the village land included in 'Area B.'"

The projects Fayyad opened included the construction of roads, schools, health centers municipal council buildings, all part of a package for development in the Jenin district worth a total of 58, 030, 505 US dollars, the prime minister's office said.

The villages targeted by the development are mostly in "Area A," a district under Palestinian Authority civil and administrative control, though there are also some in "Area B," zones under Palestinian civil but not "security" control.

The homes under threat in Barta'a Sharqiya, however, are all in "Area C." According to members of the village council, there are now 26 standing orders for homes and farm structures in the village.

During his Thursday tour of Jenin-area villages, Fayyad promised that “the maximum priority of the PA is implementing these projects in the areas behind the wall and in the Jordan valley and in all of 'Area C,' especially in the marginalized areas that are harmed by settlement and wall."

Qabbaha said the Palestinian Authority had already initiated several projects in the village, all in "Area B." These included construction of a local high school, health center and repair on several roads.

The official praised the work, saying it would make the village more attractive to Palestinians living in Israel, many of whom already go to the commercial district to do their weekly shopping.

"These projects were created by the residents themselves in accordance to their needs and priorities,” Fayyad said, during his visit to Umm A-Tut, twenty kilometers east of Barta'a Sharqiya.

Qabbaha confirmed, noting that when council was consulted by the development project leaders, it identified the needs of the village as construction and rehabilitation of power and water lines and infrastructure, most of which lies in "Area C."

Work has not yet started on extending the water or power lines.

Fayyad, however, promised that current projects are only the first phase in the multi-million dollar scheme. "After accomplishing the first package of the first thousand projects in all areas including those behind the wall, we are on going to implement the second thousand of these developmental projects to support the steadfastness of our people on their land," he said.

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