dinsdag 8 december 2009

Positief economisch nieuws van de Westelijke Jordaanoever

Omdat we meer van slecht nieuws dan van goed nieuws houden, vooral als het goede nieuws Israel in een positief daglicht stelt, is hier weinig aandacht voor. Mensen blijven liever praten over hoe slecht het gaat vanwege de vele Israelische checkpoints en dagelijkse vernederingen, ondanks het feit dat veel van die checkpoints zijn verwijderd.


It should be emphasized that removal of the checkpoints and roadblocks entails a calculated risk. For example, on July 9, 2009, an Israeli vehicle was shot at and the shooters exploited the opening of the checkpoint in Ramallah in order to escape from the city's security forces.

The economic situation in the Palestinian Authority and Israeli relief measures - periodic update
6 December 2009
Truck crossings between Israel and the West Bank: 2007-2008
1st half 2007:  80,968
2nd half 2007: 82,460
1st half 2008: 108,630
2nd half 2008: 189,101

Points for emphasis

·         Growth continues in the West Bank. Fayyad recently addressed the growth of 8% or more that is projected for 2009. In an interview with the New York Times on November 11, Quartet emissary Blair anticipated that the Palestinian economy might reach a double-digit growth rate in 2009.

·         The second cellular company in the West Bank, Wataniya, commenced operations at the beginning of November with 3.8 MHz and 40,000 subscribers. According to various publications, the company is expected to bring investments estimated at about $700 million into the West Bank, and to bring revenues of $354 million into the treasury of the Palestinian Authority, while providing thousands of jobs.

·         The Palestinian Authority has a budget deficit of $200 million because of missing donations for 2009 (after receiving a $200 million contribution from Saudi Arabia).

·         Israel continues to transfer collected tax monies to the Palestinian Authority on a regular basis. In November, the Minister of Finance signed approval to transfer the monies to the Palestinian Authority. NIS 330 million was transferred on November 29 (compared with NIS 293 that was transferred in October).

·         Projects:
-   Construction work on the central structure in the French project of the Bethlehem industrial zone commenced in the middle of November. The project is being built in Area A.
-   The USAID project to upgrade the Jalameh crossing (Gilboa) has been completed. It enables the passage of thousands of travelers and hundreds of vehicles each week. The project has enabled 3.3 times more Israeli Arabs to enter the West Bank cities, from 16,000 in September to 52,000 in November.
-   The cornerstone was laid on October 13 for the new Al Jinan neighborhood in Jenin, in which about 1000 housing units will be constructed.

·         Progress on the project to construct West Bank electricity substations: The European Investment Bank approved on November 17 a 250 million Euro loan to the Israel Electric Corp. to finance its investment plans and investments in the power grid as part of a regional project. Concomitantly, a financial agreement was attained between the Israel Electric Corp. and the Palestine Electric Company, with the European Bank acting as facilitator for the construction of four substations in the West Bank. The project will be implemented by the Israel Electric Corporation. The European Investment Bank will provide the loan package for construction of the power lines from Israel and for financing the construction of the stations themselves.

·         The Palestinians canceled their participation in the annual meeting organized by the Ministry of Defense to promote infrastructure projects (water, sewage and electricity) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The meeting, which was to have been held on December 2 in Tel Aviv, with the participation of delegates from the international community who are involved in the projects, Palestinian representatives (head of the Water Authority and head of the Ministry of Energy), and Israeli representatives (from the Ministry of Defense, the Unit for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories-COGAT, the IDF, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Water Authority, and the Israel Electric Corp.), was postponed.

Important statements:

Marc Otte, European Union emissary to the Middle East, to the working group for Middle East affairs in the European Parliament (November 24):
-         There has been an economic improvement in the West Bank, primarily due to removal of the checkpoints.
-         There is no shortage of equipment or cement for construction in Gaza, and Hamas is controlling the resources.
-         Hamas dismissed employees of the systems and appointed its own people, and that is the reason that there is no construction in Gaza.
-         The prevailing economy in Gaza is not an official economy but rather an economy of tunnels; there are no shortages in Gaza, but there is a problem of unemployment, primarily for civilians who are not close to Hamas and have no buying power.
-         The security fence has proven its effectiveness in the fight against terrorism.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

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