By Ahmed Mansour
The European Union recently doubled their aid to the Palestinian refugees to €200 million of unspent aid in 2012. This aid will be spent on the health and care facilities and other facilities to ensure an easier and safer life for the Palestinian refugees.
“The development aid will be focused on water, sanitation and support for refugees,” said Stefan Fuele, EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighborhood policy. “A further €100 million aid credits unspent last year will also be spent in 2012.”
Another €7 million will be added for the area C, which is 60 percent of the West Bank where most Israeli settlements are located, which is rich with natural resources and land which is crucial for the Palestinian state’s economic growth. Fuele also said “it is currently almost impossible for Palestinians and international donors to obtain building permits in the area, and community buildings and essential basic infrastructure are regularly demolished, but we’ll do our best to fix it.”
“This is a normal action from the EU, to win the Palestinians on their side to avoid the tension they might face from illegal migration or even terrorist attacks. So they support their cause by aiding them, rather than aiding themselves when crisis strikes” stated Said Okasha, political expert in Ahram newspaper.
Gamal Eid, a human right activist and lawyer, said “this aid should be used wisely and fairly for the benefit of the people not Hamas. That it should be applied to nourishing the facilities to ease our Palestinian brothers and sisters lives, but not make the rich richer and the poor poorer.”
Funds will be used to construct 30 new schools and to buy school supplies. Additional funding for the United Nations refugee agency (UNWRA) for Palestinians will provide support on education, health, relief and social services for Palestine refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
The European community started sending aid to Palestine in 1971 and until 2000 sent half a billion Euros in assistance. After their second intifada in 2000 and the subsequent collapse of the Palestinian economy, EU aid has focused on direct support to the Palestinian Authority and the development of the authority’s institutions.
Forty percent of the west banks lives on US$2 per day and a quarter of adults are unemployed.