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Britain sets out four year plan to tackle poverty in OPTs

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Britain has set out how it plans to tackle poverty in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) over the next four years, International Development Minister Alan Duncan announced today.

Of the approximately four million people living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, a quarter currently live below the poverty line, and 4.8 million Palestinian refugees regionally rely on the UN for basic services like health services and education.

Under the new plans, British funding will focus on boosting the Palestinian economy and helping the most vulnerable people. This will include:

Providing primary education for over 35,000 children
Immunising nearly 30,000 under five year olds against measles
Helping to create 8,000 new jobs, with particular support for small and family owned businesses
Supporting women victims of violence by improving facilities at family protection units and funding legal support for 460 court cases
Direct payments to over 215,000 poor people, to buy food, medicine and other essentials locally - also boosting the economy

International Development Minister Alan Duncan said:

“I’ve seen for myself how our work in the OPTs has already helped to tackle poverty, protect vulnerable people and make a real difference to the lives of thousands of Palestinians. To enhance the prospects for peace in the region, it is vital that we continue to work with the Palestinian Authority and other partners to ensure any future state will be stable, well-run and an effective partner for peace. Our long term goal is a sovereign and viable Palestinian state, living alongside a secure and universally recognised Israel, based on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem the future capital of both states, and a fair settlement for refugees.”

The International Development Minister set out the plans for the next four years during a visit to the OPTs, where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Prime Minister Fayyad of the Palestinian National Authority (PA). The agreement confirms a mutual commitment to tackling poverty in the OPTs and achieving a negotiated peaceful two-state solution.

Prime Minister Fayyad said:

“This support is a major vote of confidence in the achievements of the Palestinian state-building agenda. It is an endorsement of this government’s work and further reinforces recent judgements - from the IMF, World Bank and UN - that the Palestinian government and its institutions have reached the technical standard of a functioning state.

“We continue to work to strengthen the Palestinian economy and improve service delivery to the Palestinian people and welcome the commitment Britain is making to our efforts.”

The Memorandum of Understanding highlights the PA’s commitment to non-violence and a negotiated two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as well as their pledge to respect human rights and international obligations and deliver clean and accountable governance in the OPTs. It also links part of the funding to the PA to improvements in delivering value for money.

In total, Britain will provide up to £349 million to support the Palestinian people over the next four years.

Find out more about DFID's work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Where-we-work/Middle-East--North-Africa/OPT

Plus, the UK’s website in Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territories at http://ukinjerusalem.fco.gov.uk/en (English) or http://ukinjerusalem.fco.gov.uk/ar (Arabic).

For more information, please contact Gemma Blackburn by email: g-blackburn@dfid.gov.uk or tel: 020 7023 0821