Briefing on the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s development proposals for the Jordan Valley

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Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is planning and implementing a range of development projects in the Palestinian Jordan Valley, whose stated aims are to facilitate the economic development of the area and to increase Palestinian cooperation with the Israeli state.
There are fundamental weaknesses in the project, which are discussed in this briefing.

The main points addressed are:

JICA’s failure to consult fully with Palestinians and the further failure to address needs that were expressed during the consultation. JICA is not accountable to the Palestinian people. This has led to the development of initiatives and proposals which do not meet regional needs and in fact run counter to the interests of the local population.
JICA’s failure to engage with the political reality in the Jordan Valley. The poor economic situation in the area is a direct result of forty years of Israeli occupation. JICA’s current initiatives and proposed projects will facilitate the building of economy and infrastructure that is inextricably bound up with the presence of the occupation, effectively cementing the most serious barrier to long-term development.
JICA’s proposal of ‘joint’ projects, which recognise the Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, is a violation of international law and against the wishes of Palestinians. The Israelis are being dealt with as ‘partners’, rather than occupiers.
JICA’s development proposals must be led by a recognition of Palestinian political interests, including advocacy and the support of an ‘economy of steadfastness’ conducive to long-term Palestinian political and developmental goals.

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