The European Union contributed today c.€1.1 million (c.US$1.4 million), out of a total package of €22.0 million, to the eighth payment under the Palestinian Authority's "Private Sector Reconstruction in Gaza" (PSRG) programme. The programme is the first large-scale initiative in support of the private sector in the Gaza Strip. This contribution is being channelled through PEGASE, the European Union's mechanism for support to the Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority established the PSRG programme to provide financial support to Gaza businesses that were destroyed or damaged by Israel's "Operation Cast Lead". It targets businesses of all sizes in almost all sectors of activity, which need to restore destroyed or damaged assets necessary for their activities. The ultimate objective is to revitalize the economic activity in Gaza and provide for sustainable livelihoods for its people.
The European Union committed €22.0 million to PSRG at the end of 2009. In March 2011, the Japanese Government committed an additional US$ 6.58 million to the programme. Both contributions are being channelled through the European Union's financing mechanism PEGASE, which is open to all donors and has been used by a number of European states. The contribution from Japan, which is the first non-European donor to channel contributions to a Palestinian Authority programme through PEGASE, has already been fully disbursed to PSRG beneficiaries in previous payments.
The eighth PSRG disbursement amounts to c.€1.1 million (c.US$1.4 million) and will benefit 18 claims by Gaza businesses, which will receive the second and/or third instalments of their total PSRG entitlements. It follows seven earlier payments under PSRG that took place in July and September 2010, and January, June, August, September and December 2011, which benefited the programme's around 915 eligible claims and amounted to c.€18.5 million. Further payments are expected to take place under the PSRG programme in the near future.
Most of the European Union's assistance to the Palestinian Authority is channelled through PEGASE, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) and the subsequent PA Palestinian National Plan (2011-2013). As well as helping to meet a substantial proportion of its running costs, European funds support major reform and development programmes in key ministries, to help prepare the PA for statehood in line with the plan put forward by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in August 2009. Since February 2008, €1.2 billion have been disbursed through the PEGASE Direct Financial Support programmes. In addition, the EU has provided assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA and a wide range of cooperation projects.
For further information in Arabic and English on the EU's assistance to the occupied Palestinian territory and PEGASE, please visit: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/index_en.htm
 Mécanisme Palestino-Européen de Gestion de l'Aide Socio-Economique (PEGASE)
The Office of the European Union Representative, West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA
Antonia Zafeiri, Tel: +972 (0) 2 5415 859, Mob: +972 (0) 548 024 915
Shadi Othman, Tel: +972 (0) 2 541 5867, Mob: +972 (0) 599 673 958