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China offers to start projects in the West Bank

Dec. 8, 2013 9:59 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 8, 2013 9:26 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- China has offered to work with the Palestinian Authority on joint economic projects and is studying a variety of potential projects, a Fatah official said on Saturday.

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and the movement's general commissioner for relations with Arab countries and with China, told Ma'an that the PA and China have a history of strong commercial exchange and economic cooperation.

China, he added, has recently offered to start economic projects in the West Bank and is currently studying a number of potential projects.

Ambassador of China to Palestine Liu Aizhong told reporters Saturday that his country would like to start joint economic projects and industrial zones in the Palestinian territories particularly in the West Bank in Area C.

The Chinese government, says Abbas Zaki, has recently offered major facilities to allow entry of Palestinian businessman to China to enhance commercial exchange between both countries.

He added that China offered to export heavy duty machinery to Palestine "but Israeli procedures at border crossings impede the process."

A World Bank report released in October said that Israel's control over Area C deprives the Palestinian economy of an estimated $3.4 billion a year, equivalent to some 35 percent of the Palestinian gross domestic product in 2011.

It blamed the Israeli military's exclusive control over the territory for undermining the Palestinian economy and contributing to wide-ranging unemployment.

Area C makes up about 61 percent of the occupied West Bank. Under the terms of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO, it is under full Israeli military control.

The territory comprises the only contiguous piece of land connecting 227 Palestinian residential communities in areas A and B as well as about 150,000 Palestinian residents.

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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