THE COUNTRY CONTEXT
The situation in the Palestinian territories is still fragile, politically and economically speaking, due to the Israeli restrictions, the territorial fragmentation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Area C occupation (61% of the whole land) and the Israeli control on East Jerusalem. The Palestinian economy is grown up in 2017 of 2%, a too limited percentage to enhance the population life standards and the job market capacity. The unemployment rate is at the 28% and only 22% of women have access to the labor market. In Gaza the work conditions are even worse: the unemployment rate is 46,6 %, 61% among young people. The 2014 war consequences are still tangible, with 70% of the population depending on humanitarian aids; among this people, more than 55,000 refugees are in need of a proper housing and 2500 families are still displaced.
The reunification process between Fatah and Hamas, formalized by the Cairo signature in 2017 with the aim of building one governmental executive responsible for the West Bank and the Gaz Strip, seems to be currently blocked. Italy is still supporting the international action aimed at the achievement of a two States peaceful and durable solution, and at the enhancement of an independent, democratic and economically sustainable Palestinian State. During 2017, 96 Palestinians (20 children) and 17 Israelis have been killed as consequence of the still on-going conflict. After the American embassy’s relocation announcement from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in December 2017 many protests started to take place in the Palestinian territories and especially along the border between Gaza and Israel.
THE ITALIAN CONTRIBUTION (con infographic di Rose)
The Italian intervention is integrated into the European Union and the EU member states’ commitment to Palestine. Through the joint programming exercise, according with the European Joint Strategy 2017 – 2020 officially launched on the 12th of July 2018, Italy is lead donor for Health Care and Gender sectors and is also active donor in the Economic Development sector. The joint strategy aims at harmonize the different member states interventions in order to reduce duplication of projects, to enable a dialogue between different approaches and to identify challenges and opportunities in the different development programmes.
A second key document of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Jerusalem is the Palestinian National Policy Agenda 2017-22, that confirms and relaunches Palestinian Authority’s priorities to achieve a political and economical independence, a Governance reform and a sustainable development. Among these goals, that Italy as international donor aims at supporting through its development action, it is worthy to mention also the State Reform for an effective governmental action, the enhancement of the social justice system and a better laws application, the improvement of educational and health systems in Palestine, along with the resilience ability of the most vulnerable communities in Area C.