The United Nations Development Programme’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People announced that it received a $25 million grant from the Government of Israel for the clearance and rehabilitation of sites once occupied by the evacuated Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip.
UNDP was asked to undertake the rehabilitation project by the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the Office of the Special Envoy for the Quartet, James Wolfensohn. With more than 1.2 million tons of debris and rubble to be cleared and recycled, the project will cost $24.7 million, which will be provided by the Government of Israel. It will take an estimated 18 months to complete, and will employ several hundred Palestinian workers.
UNDP has promised to move as rapidly as possible in clearing the area to give Palestinians the opportunity to begin rebuilding on the evacuated sites by June 2006. The concrete and metal debris cleared from the site will be milled and recycled for use as road paving and building materials, a process that is expected to take a year.
The $25 million grant is believed to be the first donation from the Government of Israel to a UN agency for an economic development project in the Palestinian territories.