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U.S. Assistance to the Palestinians

U.S. Assistance to the Palestinians

• The President announced in the State of the Union on February 3 that he will ask Congress for $350 million for the Palestinians to support political, economic and security reforms. We will be consulting with Congress about modalities for disbursing this assistance.

• Separately from the $350 million mentioned by the President, we notified Congress of our intent to reprogram over $40 million in previously authorized assistance for quick disbursing projects designed to make an immediate, visible impact on the lives of Palestinians.

• As the President has said, the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security is within reach; we are at a moment of opportunity and we must seize it.

• We are committed to building democratic Palestinian institutions dedicated to reform and to helping the Palestinian people, particularly as they prepare for Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.

• 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 Palestinian Authority as it continues its reform efforts.

Planned breakdown of assistance and programs

• Quick impact program: The over $40 million of previously authorized assistance is being reprogrammed from funds currently reserved for a Gaza seawater desalination facility. Assistance will not be provided directly to the Palestinian Authority but will be channeled through NGOs using existing mechanisms. Breakdown:

• $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

• $13.9 million for water infrastructure - construction of wells, pipelines and water distribution systems

• Supplemental: The Administration will seek $200 million in program assistance via the supplemental appropriation. This will include program assistance targeted at the following areas:

• 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

• "Building bridges" to help improve the flow of people and goods between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza

• FY 2006 budget: The Administration’s FY 2006 budget 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.

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