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Italy donates 3 million euro for PA initiative in Area C, Jerusalem

Nov. 16, 2013 12:15 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 17, 2013 6:12 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced a 3 million euro contribution from Italy to the Palestinian Authority, a statement said Friday.

The money is to be used for a Palestinian-led initiative to improve infrastructure in Area C and East Jerusalem, the statement from the Italian consulate in Jerusalem said.

“This generous contribution is very important for the achievement of our endeavors to develop East Jerusalem and so-called Area C, which falls in line with our strategic plans to attain ownership of the nation-building project," Hamdallah was quoted as saying.

According to the statement, the Facilitating Access to Infrastructure Resilience in Area C and East Jerusalem program (FAIR) aims to empower and strengthen national institutions to deliver essential public and social infrastructure to Area C and East Jerusalem.

The Italian donation will directly contribute to a pool of funds supporting FAIR initiatives, Hamdallah was quoted as saying.

Part of the Palestinian national development plan for 2014-2016, FAIR awaits $51 million of funding from multiple donors, the statement said.

Once funds are secured, the program is designed to ensure full coordination between Palestinian Authority ministries as well as the donor community.

Consul General of Italy Davide La Cecilia said in the statement that Italy and the European Union recognize the potential of Area C to secure the long-term viability of Palestinian institutions.

"We will continue to build up Palestinian capacities by supporting national ownership and delivery of essential services (to) Area C and East Jerusalem in addition to targeting marginalized Palestinian communities in both areas," Cicilia said in the statement.

The FAIR program will be implemented in partnership with the ministry of local government and the United Nations Development Program with specific focus on vital sectors such as health, education, housing, cultural heritage, energy, transportation, and water, the statement said.

"UNDP is proud to be associated with this Palestinian-led initiative," UNDP representative Frode Mauring was quoted as saying in the statement.

"Area C holds the majority of the territory's water and agricultural land and has the resources necessary to build a viable Palestinian economy," Mauring added.

Israeli policy in Area C and East Jerusalem

Area C, which constitutes 62 percent of the West Bank, is under complete Israeli control.

Israel permits Palestinians to build on less than 1 percent of Area C land, according to UN figures.

Under the Oslo Accords, Area C was to be gradually transferred to Palestinian control within five years. But Israel has refused to withdraw its forces from the territory, citing security concerns and the absence of a final peace agreement.

East Jerusalem is often subjected to policies similar to those imposed on Area C.

Over one third of East Jerusalem has been expropriated for the construction of Israeli settlements. Only 13 percent of the annexed area is currently zoned for Palestinian construction, compared to 35 percent zoned for construction of settlements.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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