The EU has announced €42.5m in funding to support socio-economic rejuvenation in East Jerusalem, Palestine.
The assistance package will deliver substantial support to East Jerusalem, and will mainly benefit locals, young people and the private sector through a series of targeted measures. The funding will include €14.9m for activities to counter growing poverty in the city, including what the commission has called the ‘deterioration of socio-economic indicators’. The overall aim of this funding will be to boost economic development in East Jerusalem.
The rest of the funding, some €27.6m, will be directed towards the building of a democratic and accountable Palestinian state. This will include:
- Targeted policy reforms;
- Access to water and energy;
- Reinforcing businesses and SMEs;
- Fiscal consolidation; and
- Strengthening of civil society.
The aid package comes in addition to €158.1m in direct financial assistance that the EU has already offered to Palestine to support recurrent expenditure, such as salaries, pensions, and assistance to vulnerable families.
What does this mean for Jerusalem?
The commitment comes just one month after US President Donald Trump sparked controversy by announcing that the US would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Critics of that move viewed it as a rebuke to the proposed two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
With this new aid package, the commission has recommitted itself to pursuing the two-state solution, as was reinforced by the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn. He said: “With this new assistance package the EU continues to support the Palestinians on their way towards the establishment of their own state as part of the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as capital of both Israel and Palestine. The European Union is, and will remain, Palestine’s most reliable and important donor, investing in businesses, youth and schooling, helping to provide access to clean water in Gaza, strengthening civil society and investing on education and health.”