Siege of PA territories blocks financial aid
Israel’s blockade of the West Bank and Gaza, which was relaxed slightly last week, has done more than just prevent Palestinian workers from getting to their jobs in Israel. According to Al-Sharq Al-Awast, the closure is not only stopping them for going to work, but also from traveling to the major Palestinian cities where they can get their unemployment assistance.
The Palestinian Authority set aside $12 million to assist nearly 25,000 workers, and is providing most with a monthly amount that equals about $150 — enough only for the very barest essentials, such as baby food. However, the Al-Sharq Al-Awast reported that Israeli soldiers have prevented those Palestinians from getting to postal agencies in their areas to collect the assistance.
And that is not all. Israel’s financial daily, Globes, reports that the construction of the Palestinian Authority’s first independent power station in the Gaza Strip has been haled, thus delaying its inauguration date by at least one more year. At present, the Palestinians get all their electricity supply from the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC).
Work on the Gaza power station was halted after the foreign companies involved in the project told their employees to go home, due to concern about their personal safety. Half the share in the power station is held by the US company Enron and the other 50 percent is held by the Palestinian Authority itself. Construction work is being carried out by the multinational ABB group. Equipment for the station is also being held up at the Ashdod Port.
The first 40-megawatt unit of the Gaza facility was due to start operating in October. The $84 million station will include six gas and steam turbines with overall capacity of 140 megawatt. ¯ (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)