Sweden increases Palestinian aid
Published: 20th February 2006 12:08 CET
Sweden's state-run aid group on Monday pledged more than five million euros in additional aid to the Palestinian territories as Israel and the United States halted much of their funding following Hamas's election victory.
"The humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has worsened," the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) said in a statement, adding that it would provide 50 million kronor (6.4 million dollars) to the United Nations' aid programs there.
In 2005, SIDA donated nearly 100 million kronor to the Palestinian territories, a spokesman for the group told AFP.
The additional aid was necessary since Israel was not living up to its responsibility as an occupying power, Peter Lundberg of SIDA's humanitarian unit said in a statement.
"According to the fourth Geneva convention, the occupying power has a particular responsibility to support and ensure the human dignity of the occupied," he said.
"Since Israel is not living up to its responsibility under international law, large parts of the Palestinian population are now completely dependent on international humanitarian aid," Lundberg added.
The situation is likely to deteriorate further after the Israeli cabinet on Sunday authorized a series of restrictive measures against the Palestinian Authority, including a halt in the monthly transfer of custom duties in response to Hamas's rise to power following last month's elections.
The United States, which had planned to provide some 234 million dollars in assistance to the Palestinians before the radical Islamist party's legislative victory, has also said it will not give money to a government formed by the movement.
Since its victory, Hamas has been under international pressure to recognise Israel's right to exist, to end the armed struggle and to abide by previous agreements with Israel.
The Local © The Local Europe AB 2006
News from Sweden in English
Intel to Open Technology Center in Gaza
Monday February 20, 2006 2:23pm from our sister station WJLA-TV
MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Intel, the world's largest semiconductor company, is planning to build the first information technology education center in the volatile Gaza Strip. The Intel Information Technology Center of Excellence is intended to provide IT training to Palestinians and stimulate development of high-tech industry in an area where half the labor force is unemployed. The center is being developed in conjunction with Washington, D.C.-based American Near East Refugee Aid and the Islamic University of Gaza.
"We don't want to discount the tension in the area ... but from our perspective, we view it as something that can have a positive impact," said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy. "If you talk to the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, this is exactly the kind of thing they want. They want education, they want paths to improve the economic well-being of their citizens."
Intel has had a presence in Israel for more than three decades, but over the past few years has launched an initiative to also expand its investments in the Arab world.
The center is the company's first large project in the Palestinian territories, an area where American corporate involvement is rare.
It will be staffed primarily by Palestinians and will be located a couple of miles outside Gaza City in an area staked out to become a technology park with the Intel center as its anchor, said Peter Gubser, president of ANERA. Construction is expected to begin in about two months, with completion a year later.
The cost to build and equip the center will only be about $1 million, Gubser said, because a dollar goes a lot farther in the Middle East.
Though the security situation in Gaza is not good, Gubser believes the willingness of Intel to be an American corporate pioneer in the Gaza Strip may encourage other American corporations to follow.
SOURCE: Information from: East Valley Tribune/Scottsdale Tribune,
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