palestinian kids 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Foreign investments are up in the West Bank by close to 100 percent compared to last year, reaching a whopping $400 million for various infrastructure projects in sewage treatment and road upgrades, officials in the IDF's Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria said Sunday.
The money is being contributed by a number of countries, primarily the United States, Germany and Japan.
The US is spending tens of millions of dollars to upgrade close to 20 roads in the West Bank this year. In comparison, in 2007, the US contributed funds for the upgrade of only one West Bank highway. Civil administration sources said that the final approval for the road work would be obtained over the coming weeks.
Germany is funding over $50m. in building sewage treatment plants near Tulkarm, in northern Samaria, near Jenin, and in the Ramallah area. The Jenin project has received the IDF's final approval, and the Germans will receive authorization to issue a tender later this week.
The water, which is treated, will then flow from the Jenin and Tulkarm plants to Palestinian fields in the vicinity. The coordination with the Palestinians and the Germans is overseen by civil administration commander Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai and head of the administration's liaison unit Lt.-Col. Avi Shalev.
"There is an increase of close to 100% in the amount of funding for West Bank infrastructure projects this year," one senior civil administration officer said.
"There have not been expenditures like this since the second intifada erupted in 2000. Now that the situation is relatively quiet, the countries are investing in major infrastructure projects, since there is no longer as much of a need for humanitarian goods," he said.
Another massive project, scheduled to receive IDF approval in the coming weeks, is an American request to upgrade close to 20 highways. The project will cost tens of millions of dollars and is the largest single roadwork project ever in the West Bank.
The IDF did its utmost to speed up the approval process for infrastructure projects as part of the general Israeli effort to improve the quality of life in the West Bank, the officer said.
The roads picked for an upgrade are chosen by the Palestinians and include the section of Route 60 from Jenin to Nablus, the Tarkumiya Highway, the Sha'ar Efraim Crossing Highway and the Ramadin-Hebron Road.