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Source: Israel
10 September 2007






MASHAV cooperates with the Palestinian Authority

10 Sep 2007
Activity in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority was renewed in the second half of 2004, in cooperation with NGOs in the Palestinian Authority.

Introduction

MASHAV - the Israel Foreign Ministry Center for International Cooperation - has placed its programs of cooperation in the Middle East at the top of its priorities. MASHAV's activities in this area reflect both the Israel Foreign Ministry goals vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority as well as the development goals of the Palestinian Authority itself, with emphasis being given to the following topics:


It is our belief that cooperation on development oriented programs are instrumental in creating an atmosphere of trust and tolerance between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as a strengthening the peace process.


Background

Activity in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority was renewed in the second half of 2004 after about three years of intifada. The programs were carried out in cooperation with NGOs in the Palestinian Authority. The number of participants from the Palestinian Authority in MASHAV courses in recent years was:

2004 - 69 participants
2005 - 76 participants
2006 - 49 participants
2007 - 51 participants thus far.


Summary of MASHAV Activity and Cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in 2007

1. Program on the Establishment and Management of Small Enterprises for a Palestinian Women's Organization

As part of MASHAV's desire to improve the standard of living in the Palestinian Authority, as well as empowering women in a patriarchal society, a joint program exists in conjunction with the Polish Humanitarian Organization (PHO) and a Palestinian NGO. In that program, training is given to Palestinian women from the village of Azariah in the raising of goats and the production of milk. The training includes concepts in business management, basic learning of agriculture and goat breeding (including the production of milk, butter and cheeses; workshops in food security and rules of hygiene; bookkeeping). 

The goal is to provide women who have a very basic education with tools for improving the household economy by earning an additional income, thereby also strengthening their independence. 

On 31 July 2007, an agreement was signed in Jerusalem by the three partners to the program, as a model for future activities during 2008.

2. Chain of Supply Workshop - a program for Palestinian businesspeople, about imports and exports that pass through Israel's borders; in cooperation with the Palestinian Shippers' Council (PSC) and the Peres Center for Peace

Since Palestinian goods are exported and imported through Israeli ports and are dependent upon Israeli customs and it stations, Palestinian businesspeople are dependent upon Israeli authorities and service providers. 

The workshops will provide Palestinian businesspeople with the necessary knowledge and a better understanding of the rules of international trade and the logistical procedures at the Israeli ports. In this manner, the Palestinian business sector will be enabled to manage their trade more efficiently and their understanding will strengthen their competitiveness as well as increase their business capabilities.

3. Program for Effective Agricultural Business Management

The program was held both in Israel and in Gaza, with the participation of leaders of agricultural cooperatives. The goals of the course included strengthening the norms of the cooperative, and a survey of the international cooperative reality through the study of factors for success in prominent agricultural cooperatives around the world. 

Additional goals included strengthening business administration skills and a presentation of new technologies in Israeli agriculture, relevant to the agricultural reality in Gaza (development of greenhouses, organic agriculture, etc.).

4. Professional cooperation in the area of Growing Flowers and Vegetables for Marketing according to the EUROGAP standards

A series of workshops will be held in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority in cooperation with the Dutch Government.

The heads of the agricultural associations in the Palestinian Authority are interested in cooperating with Israel in the area of agricultural know-how to breeders of poultry for export. This need grew even more following the Hamas takeover and consolidation of its position.

These agricultural associations have had ties with Israel for many years, both in the procurement of inputs needed for management, as well as growing and marketing their products for export.

5. Empowerment of Women and Young People in the Palestinian Authority

A. Program for Small Businesses for Young Palestinians - A Tool for Job Creation 

     Since the end of 2005, three courses have been conducted on the subject. The program focuses on providing tools for the establishment and management of small businesses. Participants comprise Palestinian small business owners and representatives of civil society.

B. Seminar for Palestinian and Israeli Women - Women Building a New Reality

     Since the end of 2005, seven seminars have been held. The aim of the program is to develop a dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli women representing a varied cross-section of society.

C. Workshop on Women Leadership, Strengthening Civil Society and Small Businesses

     The women who participated in this program are engaged in volunteer work, as well as in public work and education. During the last two years, the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center (MCTC) hosted 400 Israeli and Palestinian participants who came from a broad spectrum of Israeli and Palestinian society: students and university graduates, mothers, social workers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, businesswomen, directors of social NGOs, volunteers and religious groups.

The goal of the seminar is to become acquainted with life's reality in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and using the feminine spirit to create a shared way of thinking and a common language. The women identify possible areas of activity by which they can influence their community to pave the way - psychologically and emotionally - for coexistence and educating for peace.

As a result of these seminars, personal as well as professional ties were developed, as well as direct contacts which enable an on-going and diversified dialogue. The seminars brought about changes in attitudes and more correct perception of "the other", as well as an aspiration for peace. 

6. Trilateral program of Israel-Poland-Palestinian Authority on Establishing Study Programs in Primary and High Schools on Conflict Resolution

The program deals with the topic of "reconciliation" and has received the blessings of the Israel Ministry of Education and the President of the Palestinian Authority. This is the first time that MASHAV is carrying out a joint program with the Palestinian Authority in the field of education.

Considering Poland's abundant experience in the area of reconciliation, it was decided to learn from the experience of the formal and information Polish educational system and from its civil society.  Therefore, a meeting was held in Poland with Israeli and Palestinian teachers, its goal being to create a joint education syllabus which would be incorporated as a "pilot project" in a number of Israeli and Palestinian schools. 

In recent months a program has been formulated between teachers in Israeli and Palestinian high schools and at Tel Aviv and Bir Zeit Universities.  The next stage will be hold meetings between teachers in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority in order to prepare the syllabus.

7. Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in the Rehabilitation of Handicapped Children

A program is taking shape between the Bethlehem Arab Rehabilitation Society (BASR) and Alyn Hospital. Its goal: upgrading doctors, nurses and technicians at BASR, and creating a medical program for Palestinian children who are undergoing initial treatment at Alyn and then would be transferred for longer-term rehabilitation at BASR.

8. Training programs for health professionals at Hadassah Hospital in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Health

A program is currently being formulated to train physicians, nurses and technicians in diverse specialties at Hadassah Hospital.

9. The Regional Agricultural Program for Israel-Egypt-Jordan-the Palestinian Authority, under the sponsorship of DANIDA

This is a unique program, being carried out under the sponsorship of the Danish International Development Agency, DANIDA, at a cost of 7 million dollars. The program encompasses a number of topics in the field of agriculture: flocks, desert agriculture, saline water, product handling and marketing, inexpensive food, and women in agriculture. 

The program has been going on now for seven years, even during the period of the intifada. It includes on-site as well as training programs in Israel, meetings of experts, and participation in international conferences. 

The program was initially carried our as a trilateral project between DANIDA-MASHAV-Egypt which, due to its success, evolved into a multilateral program.

The program emphasizes the transfer of know-how and technologies to farmers by increasing on-the-spot training and the training of agricultural instruction teams.


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