Ma'an News Agency (Analysis)
September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The EU has contributed over €3.58 million in its second disbursement to the Palestinian Authority to aid rebuilding of Gaza's private sector, a statement issued Monday said.

The EU will contribute a total of €22 million towards the project, the statement added.

The Private Sector Reconstruction in Gaza program was launched by the PA following Israel's December 2008 offensive on the coastal enclave, Operation Cast Lead. The program targets businesses whose buildings and assets were destroyed in the war.

The overall aim, the statement said, was to revitalize economic activity and provide sustainable livelihoods for residents of the besieged Strip.

EU representative Christian Berger said that helping Gaza enterprises to resume their activities was a first step in creating jobs for the Strip's expanding population, to diminish high poverty levels and reduce aid dependency.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said an additional 240 companies in Gaza would benefit from the EU's latest payment, noting that "a private sector capable of assuming a leading role in economic development must be an active participant in the overall economic revitalization plan."

Fayyad reiterated his call for Israel to lift its four-year blockade of Gaza "entailing the reopening of all crossings and the unconditional free movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip."

Rights groups have said Gaza’s economy will not recover until Israel allows businesses to export their produce.


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