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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
26 September 2005




OPT: Two American grants support co-existence between Palestinians and Israelis

RAMALLAH, West Bank – The American people have funded two new grants to support programs advancing reconciliation, respect and tolerance between Palestinians and Israelis.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contributed approximately $1.3 million for programs that focus on psychological and social rehabilitation.

One grant provides over $526,000 to train physicians, nurses, and social workers to assist needy Palestinian and Israeli populations in targeted, hard-hit communities. The program offers professionals from both nationalities a unique opportunity for joint training and cooperation while pursuing common goals.
Through the Integrative Community Based Psychotrauma model, the project aims to ease mental hardship and trauma of Palestinians and Israelis affected by conflict-related violence and insecurity. The program will be implemented by the Jewish American Distribution Committee in partnership with local Palestinian and Israeli Organizations.

Thousands of children and their families will benefit from the services offered by health and social workers participating in the program.

Through a second grant, USAID donated $750,000 towards production of a joint Israeli-Palestinian TV drama series called Opening Hearts.

The program will tell powerful true stories of Palestinian and Israeli families whose lives are intertwined. The drama series is aimed at creating a gradual transformation in the beliefs and perceptions of both Israeli and Palestinian societies. This program will be implemented by the Parents Circle-Families Forum, a not-for-profit organization of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli parents.

The television drama is written both in Arabic and Hebrew and will be aired on local Israeli and Arab TV channels.

The two new USAID grants are part of a global grant competition jointly administered by the U.S. State Department and the Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation at USAID/Washington to promote reconciliation programs and activities in post-conflict and war zones.

In addition to these two grants, USAID Washington will award more than $2.5 million in additional support for Israeli and Palestinian initiatives that will be managed by USAID/Washington and the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Since 1993, Palestinians have received more than $1.7 billion in U.S. economic assistance via USAID projects – more than from any other donor country.

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