UNDP seeks $18 million to help Palestinians affected by West Bank wall
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People is appealing to the international community for $18 million in emergency aid for communities affected by Israel's construction of a series of walls, fences, trenches and barriers, commonly known as the "separation wall," in the West Bank.
The wall, winding 175 kilometers so far, has encircled and isolated many Palestinian cities and villages. The funds will be used for land reclamation, construction of agricultural roads, improving water supplies, revamping health care and education, strengthening municipal and village councils, as well as other infrastructure projects to be developed in consultation with communities. The work will generate over 200,000 jobs.
The first phase of the wall will cut across roads and water networks and form a barrier between Palestinians living on each side and their agricultural lands, water wells, urban markets and public services. Areas next to the wall are designated off-limits.
The impact of the wall on agriculture is of particular concern in the governorates of Jenin, Tulkarm and Qalqilya, where the first phase is under construction. These areas produce nearly half the West Bank's total agricultural output, with an estimated value of $220 million in 2000. The wall can severely constrain the delivery of basic social services and commercial activities, especially the movement of agricultural products, Palestinian officials say.
Building the barrier caused destruction of 83,000 olive and other fruit trees, 615 acres of irrigated land, 37 kilometers of water networks and 15 kilometers of agricultural roads. In addition, a total area of 238 square kilometers are isolated between the "Green Line" boundary of the West Bank and the wall, 57 percent of which is cultivated, mostly with olive trees and field crops.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, commenting on the wall, has said: "I know that it is conventional wisdom that fences make good neighbors. But that is if you build a fence on your own land and you do not disrupt your neighbor's life." — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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