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Source:
7 May 2002
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ISRAEL's ASSAULT ON WEST BANK CAUSED $432 MILLION OF DAMAGE: U.N.D.P.

As Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began his visit to the US yesterday to promote himself as a peacemaker, UN officials were totting up the cost of repairing the damage caused to residential areas, infrastructure and Palestinian institutions during the Israeli army's invasion of towns in the West Bank, reports the Independent (UK). Damage to property is estimated at $300 million to $400 million, and repairs will take up to 18 months, said Tim Rothermel of the UNDP in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. UN, World Bank and EU officials are expected to complete an assessment of damage in a week, and draw up a reconstruction plan that will be distributed to donor countries, notes the story.

In a related story BBC Online reports that the damage appraisal is the first step in drawing up a plan for the reconstruction of the West Bank. It will be distributed to international donors who will then be asked to allocate funds for specific projects.

The UN says that donors have in principle agreed to disburse around $1.2 billion over the coming year, but the extent to which this money can in practice be distributed will depend on whether or not the military conflict continues. The UNDP says it has already provided $1.9 million in emergency aid over the past three weeks.

However, the head of the World Bank's programme in Gaza says that though donor countries are committed to providing aid, they are also concerned that they could end up financing a programme of reconstruction only to see the Palestinian infrastructure reduced to rubble again by more fighting.

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