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Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said:
“Despite the improving political climate, most movement restrictions for people and goods remain in place. While it is crucial that humanitarian aid does not become a structural feature of the Palestinian economy, international donors must continue to help meet the urgent needs of the population.”
Dependence on aid is increasing in the occupied territories, a consequence of unprecedented levels of poverty and unemployment. A growing number of Palestinians face problems reaching their places of work, clinics, schools and water resources, especially in areas where the West Bank barrier is being built. Declining health and education standards have a particularly serious effect on vulnerable groups such as women and children.
The aid package includes food aid for 730,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. More than 180,000 people will have improved access to clean water and sanitation. Some 120,000 inhabitants of the West Bank will benefit from temporary jobs and support to small-scale businesses. Mobile clinics will be deployed in remote villages. Psychosocial emergency teams will assist children affected by conflict-related violence in areas of acute needs, and 43,000 children will enjoy recreational activities in their schools and kindergartens. Coordination of international aid and specific actions aimed at protecting civilians in conformity with IHL principles will also be supported.
In Lebanon, assistance to Palestinian refugees will include nutrition programmes for under-threes, income-generating activities, and social programmes and health care for the elderly and disabled. Legal support will be provided to 3,000 Palestinians whose refugee status is not recognised and are therefore excluded from most aid networks.
The European Commission is one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, with €183 million provided since the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000.