The trend of relief and positive measures continues in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. During the past few months, and particularly during the Ramadan and Id-ul-Fitr, Israel had authorized, via COGAT, a series of financial and infrastructural benefits, which will support the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinians in dealing with their current financial situation.
COGAT, which oversees the civilian and financial relations with the international community and the Palestinian Authority, had facilitated the execution of many projects funded by the international community in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
The measures approved in Judea and Samaria include an increase by 2,000 the number of Palestinian workers allowed to stay in Israel overnight, so that now 7,000 Palestinian workers are now active in Israel. The number of Palestinian merchants operating in Israel grew by 1,000, and now amounts to 17,750 merchants. In addition, the employment of an additional 8,000 Palestinian workers was approved, out of which 5,000 are employed in construction works and 3,000 in agriculture, so that now there are 41,450 workers operating in Israel.
As part of the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to mitigate the financial crisis, Israel had approved the early transfer of taxes collected – 180 million NIS were transferred in June and 250 million NIS were transferred in August. As for utilities, Tul Karm and Jenin’s electrical connection was augmented by an additional 100 ampere and 7 megawatts (the execution of this measure shall take place in the following days).
Traffic and access have also witnessed relief: 8 road blocks and border crosses were removed (Hashomronim, a crossing north of Jericho, a crossing in Beit Dajan, Zawata, Ariel-Salfit, Azvat Shufa, old Route 60, and Beit-Anon East Intersection), and now Judea and Samaria contains only 13 internal crosses, which function as “normally open”. Furthermore, various routes were renovated, including the Adam Hizma Road and various routes in the Bethlehem sector (underground pass to Al Hadr, Vadi Pukhin Route, and Wadi Niss Route).
The projects approved included 14 projects situated at Area C, where clinics and schools are to be established via a “fast track” process. The projects involve the renovation and extension of schools in Kilkas, Dir Razkh, Alzawari, Sair, Um Nzal, Daba, Ras Atira, Aba, Azun and Atana, the construction of schools in Shuhada and Nazlat Isa, and the addition of floors to the Jaba and Al Walja clinics.
Gaza Strip: during the past two years, Israel had approved 235 projects funded by the international community, 16 of which were approved last week, including schools in Beit Lahia, Rafah, Ibn Sina, Salah ed Din, Khan Yunis, 449 housing units, a main sewer line in Khan Yunis, a waste treatment facility, infrastructural development in Rafah and the surrounding area, the renovation of roads and the paving of a new road across the Strip, the renovation of the Saleh ed Din Road, and a solid waste treatment project.
As for utilities, the infrastructure at Oz Stream was improved so as to augment the supply of water delivered from Israel to the Gaza strip by an additional 5 million cubic meters.
The Gaza Strip’s financial relief includes the importation of textile and furniture from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, particularly to the educational system, which adds to the Authority’s importation of textile and agricultural produce to overseas clients. This is aided by the addition of a new imaging device to the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing. In addition, raw materials were released to the Strip’s private sector, including tiles, building stone, plaster, mosaic, mortar, etc. Moreover, 10 cooling trucks were provided so as to support the Strip’s agricultural production, and the amount of vehicles authorized to enter the Strip from Israel was increased from 80 to 100 vehicles per week.
In addition, Israel had approved, per the Palestinian Authority’s request, the transfer of 100 million NIS from Judea and Samaria to Gaza, so as to assist Gaza Strip banks struggling with insufficient cash.