Middle East

Development Minister leaves for visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories

Press release of 30.11.2016 |

Berlin – Minister Gerd Müller today left Germany for a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. His visit will focus on the situation of Palestinian refugees and on the current situation in Gaza and in what is called Area C in the West Bank, which falls under full Israeli control. The purpose of his trip is to encourage all sides to improve the outlook for people in the Palestinian territories and to achieve tangible progress on the implementation of German projects.

German Development Minister Müller said, "The effort to find a solution to the Middle East conflict must not fade away from the international agenda. We are faced with the Syrian crisis, one of the biggest refugee crises of modern times. Yet we must not lose sight of the Palestinian refugees and the situation in the Middle East. We want to be a reliable partner for both sides. However, our investments in development can only be effective if all parties take their obligations seriously. The start of construction work on the Gaza wastewater treatment plant shows that effective, visible development projects are possible."

In Gaza, Development Minister Müller will attend the cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new wastewater treatment plant that will ensure safe wastewater management for more than a million people. He will also visit two refugee camps in Gaza and in the West Bank operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The German government is one of UNRWA's five principal supporters. During his visit, Minister Müller will meet high-ranking policymakers from the Israeli and the Palestinian side for political talks. He will also meet with representatives of civil society and religious organisations.

In 2016, the BMZ committed about 86 million euros for development in the Palestinian territories. German development cooperation projects focus on the water sector, the promotion of sustainable economic development, and support for good governance. Their purpose is to create development opportunities for all Palestinians – regardless of whether they live in Gaza, the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

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