The United States outlined today (Monday, Feb. 7) how it will spend $390 million in assistance for the
Palestinian Authority—$350 million of that in new funds promised by President
George W. Bush in his Feb. 2 State of the Union message and $40 million in funds that had previously been promised for assistance but which were held back.
The outline was released in conjunction with the meeting today between U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
According to a State Department news release, "this package of aid is designed to make an impact, both immediately and in the long-term, on the lives of Palestinians, and to support the PA as it continues its reform efforts."
From the $40 million previously allocated for a seawater desalination facility in Gaza, the Bush administration plans to contribute through various
Non-Governmental Organizations $7.3 million for higher education and training programs;
$8.9 million for community services – including youth programs and job creation; $7.9 million for private sector development; $3 million for support for primary health care, and $13.9 million for water infrastructure - construction of wells, pipelines and water distribution systems.
The State Department said the Administration will seek the initial $200 million of the promised
$350 million from Congress for financing home construction in Gaza, expanding education opportunities, developing the economic infrastructure for a Palestinian state, helping to improve the Palestinian social safety net to provide social services to the poor, and "building bridges" to help improve the flow of people and goods between
Israel and the West Bank and Gaza
In its Fiscal Year 2006 budget, the Administration will seek $150 million "in economic assistance for the West Bank and Gaza"-- an increase of $75 million over the FY 2005 budget. "U.S. assistance supports significant programs in six areas: private sector development, water resources, democracy and governance, health, community services, and higher education. The FY 2006 increase will allow a focus on longer-term development -- including reconstruction of Gaza and revitalization of the Palestinian economy in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal; necessary foundations for emerging democracy such as institution-building and civil society strengthening; and infrastructure development, especially water."