Assistance for Palestine

03.12.2021 - Article

Germany is a leading donor, with projects in areas such as police reform, humanitarian assistance and development cooperation – because a functioning Palestinian state is essential for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

Opening ceremony for a school expansion building in Ein Yabrud
Opening ceremony for a school expansion building in Ein Yabrud© unknown

Why is Germany involved?

The German Government sees a negotiated two-state solution as the only way to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East. An independent, democratic, contiguous and sovereign Palestinian state is an indispensable part of this solution. The German Government has therefore provided substantial funding in recent years to promote the institutional development of a future Palestinian state, both politically and through concrete measures.

In 2020, the German Government provided a total of around 193 million euro to support the Palestinian people. This included funding for development cooperation and transitional development assistance (approx. 95.46 million euro), humanitarian assistance (approx. 87.2 million euro), stabilisation and peacebuilding (approx. 5.8 million euro) and culture and education (approx. 5 million euro).

Establishing an efficient Palestinian police force with good community relations

Germany has supported the development of the Palestinian Authority from the start. It focuses in particular on supporting the Palestinian police force in its task of upholding the state order while maintaining good relations with the community. As part of this work, experts from the Federal Police and the Federal Criminal Police Office have been involved in initial and further training for Palestinian police officers since 2010. Trainees are also able to prepare for their day-to-day work locally in a specially built model police station in Jericho. To facilitate contact and conversation with local residents in the interest of good community relations, the police have set up mobile police stations in all 12 districts of the West Bank. Germany has additionally provided vital support for the development of a fingerprinting system and the detection of counterfeit documents.

Humanitarian assistance

The German Government provides humanitarian assistance for Palestine via both bilateral and European channels. In 2020, Germany contributed a total of 87.2 million euro to support humanitarian assistance measures in Gaza and the West Bank. German assistance in Palestine focuses on basic healthcare, psychosocial support and protective measures.

The Federal Foreign Office’s main partners for humanitarian assistance are the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Country-Based Pooled Funds managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Cultural relations and education policy

The German Government has provided over 10 million euro for German-Palestinian educational and cultural exchange in 2021. This includes support for the two German schools in Palestine, the Franco-German cultural institute in Ramallah, the programmes run by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and projects in the field of cultural preservation (such as the restoration of a historical building as an artists’ residence in Ramallah and the establishment of a scientific centre on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem). Funding is also provided for projects to strengthen civil society and the cultural identity of the Palestinian people, as well as various cultural events in areas such as theatre, dance and literature.

Central Gaza sewage-treatment plant
Central Gaza sewage-treatment plant© photothek / Imo

Germany’s development cooperation priorities

Palestine is a bilateral partner of German development cooperation and transitional development assistance, which is overseen by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Since the beginning of the 1980s, Germany has pledged over 1.2 billion euro to bilateral projects in Palestine as part of its development cooperation efforts. This is in addition to Germany’s contributions to EU, UN and World Bank development programmes as well as its pledges for projects with UNRWA.

The priorities of German development cooperation are to promote good governance, particularly at municipal level, to strengthen civil society and to increase employment through economic development and vocational education and training. Since 2017, support in the area of water management and sanitation has focused on the Gaza Strip. Germany has thus aligned its development cooperation efforts with the priorities of the Palestinian National Development Plan. More specifically, Germany has financed the Gaza Strip’s central wastewater treatment plant and is involved in the construction and renovation of schools, colleges and municipal infrastructure. These measures are supplemented by transitional development assistance projects, some of which are implemented via German non-governmental organisations, to support healthcare, food security and the reconstruction and repair of basic infrastructure (particularly in the Gaza Strip), projects by private-sector and religious institutions, and the work done by Germany’s political foundations and the Civil Peace Service in the Palestinian territories.

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