German government development cooperation in the Palestinian Territories focuses on three priority areas that have been agreed with the Palestinian side:
- Water supply, sewage and waste disposal
- Sustainable economic development, employment promotion and education
- Development of state and municipal institutions and promotion of civil society
In the water sector, Germany is the largest bilateral donor in the Palestinian Territories.
In addition, the German federal government is also making money available for emergency aid measures. Due to the uncertain political situation, there is increasing support for programs to promote employment to expand the social infrastructure that can be implemented quickly.
Since development and peace are inextricably linked, German development cooperation through the Civil Peace Service (ZFD) has been supporting state and social actors in non-violent conflict management, peace education measures and the accompaniment and intensification of internal, cross-social and cross-border dialogue processes since 1999. The CPS has its largest program in the world in the Palestinian Territories.
According to PROZIPCODES, the GIZ has been active since the 1980’s in the Palestinian territories. Since May 2005 she has been working with KfW Development Bank in the German House for Development Cooperation in Al-Bireh / Ramallah. A GIZ program house was also opened in August 2011, from which the individual programs are managed. There is another GIZ office in the Gaza Strip.
To support the establishment of effective state structures in the Palestinian Territories, the Federal Government and the Palestinian Authority set up a German-Palestinian Steering Committee in Berlin in May 2010. At the end of October 2010 this committee met for the first time at expert level in Ramallah. The main focus of the discussions was on the best possible implementation of development projects and the establishment of state structures. A further close cooperation was agreed in the area of police development, in the water sector and in the area of economic development, and a contact point for German companies was set up in Ramallah. The aim is to bring German and Palestinian entrepreneurs together and to strengthen economic relations. The second meeting took place in Berlin on March 28, 2012, on March 19, 2014the third session. To intensify and deepen bilateral relations, both sides have signed several agreements in the key areas of economy, state building, education, science, research and culture. The steering committee met for the fourth time in Berlin on October 26, 2016, chaired by the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The talks focused on ongoing efforts to resolve the Middle East conflict and Germany’s support for the Palestinian Territories. The 5th German-Palestinian Steering Committee took place on May 19, 2020. Prime Minister Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh and Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas held a video conference in Berlin or Ramallah. The talks focused on combating the consequences of the corona pandemic, reforms and current developments in the Middle East peace process.
Measured in terms of per capita output, Palestine is one of the top recipient countries for German development cooperation. Since the beginning of the 1980’s, German development cooperation has committed more than € 1.2 billion for bilateral projects in Palestine, of which around € 1.0 billion had been implemented in projects by May 2018. In addition, there is the German part in the development programs of the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank.
In 2019 the German government supported the Palestinian population with a total volume of around € 320 million. The United Nations Aid for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA) as well as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Humanitarian Land Fund for the Palestinian Territories, administered by OCHA, were also funded to provide necessary aid quickly and unbureaucratically to be able to distribute.
On December 17, 2019, the head of the German representative office in Ramallah, Christian Clages, and the Palestinian foreign minister, Dr. Riad Al-Malki, in the presence of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh the annual agreement on German-Palestinian financial and technical cooperation. Funding of 54.4 million euros was made available for development projects in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The two sides had already agreed on their direction during the government negotiations in December 2018.
On November 20, 2019, the foundation stone was laid for a new wastewater treatment plant in Salfit. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is making around € 20 million available through KfW Development Bank to finance the project. In addition to the sewage treatment plant, the expansion of the sewage network in the city is financed and a better drinking water supply is made possible. So far, most of the wastewater has been discharged untreated into a valley below the city. The new system is scheduled to go into operation in 2021.
Other German organizations and institutions that carry out projects in Palestine are:
- Caritas International
- German Association of the Holy Land
- DVV International
- Evangelical work for diaconia and development
- Civil Peace Service Forum
- Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
- Friedrich Naumann Foundation
- Hanns Seidel Foundation
- Heinrich Böll Foundation
- Konrad Adenauer Foundation
- Wustrow curve
- medico international
- Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
- World Peace Service