Since the inception of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) in 1976, the institution has unwaveringly supported the Palestinians by committing resources to reinforce diverse project-oriented initiatives in the territories, as well as emergency aid when extenuating circumstances required it. OFID has closely cooperated with UNRWA during much of this time and in recent years; this relationship has been further anchored by its support of UNRWA’s microfinance activities in Palestine.
To alleviate Gaza’s current economic crisis, first prompted by the imposition of the reinforced blockade in 2007, OFID has provided USD 11.5 million in emergency aid since 2008, out of which USD 3.0 million were disbursed in the immediate aftermath of the war. However, OFID continues to invest in the longer-term development of Palestinian communities and civil society. One of our current painstaking concerns is the plight of occupied Jerusalem a city isolated from the rest of the West Bank, whose inhabitants have recently been subjected to increased land seizures and house evictions to accommodate more illegal Israeli settlements. In 2009, OFID approved a grant of USD 1.5 million to improve the life of Palestinians in Jerusalem. Focused particularly on youth, the grant will repair, construct and equip schools and their facilities, in addition to some historical buildings. It will also finance studies to provide a documented record of Palestinian property ownership in Jerusalem, to forestall confiscation. In the same year, OFID also approved a USD 1.2 million grant to support a Scholarship Fund for Talented Palestinians, established at the initiative of UNRWA, to develop the capacities of Palestinian youth across UNRWA’s sphere of operations.