BONN (Aug. 29)
West Germany is studying the possibility of channeling its economic assistance to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip through independent Palestinian institutions, a spokesman for the Ministry of Economic Cooperation here said Monday.
The ministry handles Bonn’s aid programs to developing countries around the globe.
The spokesman said Monday that a ministry official has been sent to Amman, the Jordanian capital, to study the matter.
Up to now, West Germany has channeled its assistance to the territories-held by Israel since 1967-either directly through Jordan or in consent with Jordanian officials.
In the last 20 years, Bonn assisted the territories with $23.9 million worth of economic aid. Jordan annually receives about $26.5 million worth of financial and technical assistance from West Germany.
A government spokesman in Bonn stressed Monday that West Germany will continue to support economic or educational projects in the territories, even in the aftermath of Jordan’s decision to abandon its ties with the West Bank.
But he added that it remained to be seen how exactly the assistance will be channeled.
“There are still many open questions,” the spokesman said. “It will certainly take some time to find out what kind of influence the Jordanians still maintain in the West Bank, and whether independent institutions are in the process of emerging. But we are certainly going to continue to offer economic assistance.”
Unlike a number of other Western countries, West Germany does not maintain a separate consulate in Jerusalem. Usually, those consulates handle relations with the Palestinian community in all of the West Bank and even in the Gaza Strip.