The Palestinians are threatening to boycott the United Nations Children’s Fund
after the agency decided to accept offers from Israeli firms to bid for
construction work in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Contractors Union
denounced UNICEF and warned Palestinians against cooperating with Israeli
The head of the union, Osama Kahil, said he received complaints
from Palestinian contractors who told him that Israeli firms had asked for their
cooperation in carrying out construction work in the Gaza Strip, offering them
half of the revenues.
“We contacted the head of UNICEF and held a meeting
with her after which we decided to boycott the agency until it backtracks on its
decision,” Kahil said. He added that Palestinians were outraged that Israelis,
who were “responsible for destroying the Gaza Strip,” were being offered the
opportunity to help carry out important projects.
The Contractors Union
appealed to the Palestinian Authority to intervene with UNICEF to stop it from
“tampering with the blood and rights of our people and their national
Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip threatened to hold
protests against UNICEF and to close its offices because of its readiness to
permit Israeli companies to take part in its projects. Hamas said it would not
allow Israel to carry out any work in the Gaza Strip.
Catherine Weibel said that no contracts had been awarded to any firms. She
explained that UNICEF Special Representative in the Occupied Palestinian
territory Jean Gough had met with the Palestinian Contractors Union on
“The priority and policy of the UNICEF office in the Occupied
Palestinian territory is to purchase goods and services from qualified
Palestinian manufacturers, authorized dealers and companies. We only buy from
other providers when goods are not available,” Gough said.
explained that the project in question was a desalination plant.
preference, she said, was to use local suppliers. But if Palestinian
supplier could not provide the necessary parts then Israel was the next option.