German development cooperation with the Palestinian territories
Updated 7 November 2023 Current situation
As announced, the BMZ is currently reviewing its activities in the Palestinian territories. We have no evidence that German funds have been misused to finance terrorism. However, we hear the questions and concerns that are being raised in this area, and the terrible attacks by Hamas on Israel are sufficient reason for us to undertake such a review.
At the same time we must ensure that, in this already very difficult situation, we do not worsen the impact for Israel or for civilians in the Palestinian territories but instead contribute as far as possible to stabilising the situation.
In concrete terms, this means that, until the review is complete, we will not enter into any new contractual commitments and no new payments will be made.
However, as a state governed by the rule of law, we will fulfil our existing contractual obligations, such as making payments for work that has been completed as part of projects that have already begun.
The review will take into account specific priorities, in particular providing immediate support for women, children and other vulnerable groups, fostering peaceful coexistence and supporting Israeli security interests. Projects in these priority areas will be fast-tracked for review, so that there is as little disruption as possible to German activities on the ground.
However, taking account of the growing needs of people in the Gaza Strip and the increasingly unstable situation in a number of neighbouring countries, the review has focused, as a matter of priority, on the continuation of support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). As a first partial result of the review, the Minister has now decided to release 71 million euros in funding that had already been earmarked for commitments for UNRWA, and to make available an additional 20 million euros in new funding.
As a first step, this 91 million euros is to go towards measures to continue the provision of basic services for displaced people in the Gaza Strip and of assistance for Palestinian refugees in Jordan. Minister Schulze announced this today after a meeting with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in Amman. The UNRWA activities in the southern Gaza Strip that are financed with German development funding will target internally displaced people in the Gaza Strip, focusing on the permanent provision of drinking water for the civilian population and hygiene and sanitation in emergency shelters.
The review of Germany‘s development support is ongoing and has not yet been fully completed.
Update (23 November 2023)
As a further partial result of the review, on 22 November 2023 the BMZ decided that UNRWA could use funds provided by the BMZ in all of the regions in which it is active – meaning, alongside Jordan, also in the West Bank and in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and, in specific cases, in Syria. Due to the current situation, long-term development policy measures via UNRWA in the Gaza Strip remain excluded.
In addition, ongoing transitional development assistance projects will be continued and readjusted: in the Gaza Strip, these will focus on providing basic services in the current conflict and displacement situation. In concrete terms, this means providing trauma therapy for children and establishing emergency shelters via the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), for example. Via the German Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent Movement, disaster management will be strengthened and first aid capacity among civilians increased. The UN World Food Programme is offering support when it comes to securing harvest yields in particular. In the West Bank, the continued and readjusted projects will focus on social cohesion in order to contribute to de-escalation in the current tense political situation.
As at: 23/11/2023