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Union: Palestinian contractors to boycott UNICEF
Published Monday 28/05/2012 (updated) 03/06/2012 12:24
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The union of Palestinian contractors on Monday announced a boycott a UN agency that allows Israeli firms to bid for construction work in the Gaza Strip.

The union said contractors would boycott all work for UNICEF "until they backtrack from their decision to take offers from Israeli companies and equate them with Palestinian companies."

Urging all local and official organizations to follow suit, the union said in a statement that hiring Israeli firms for projects in Gaza would reward Israel's siege of the enclave and destroy the Palestinian economy.

The decision to boycott followed a meeting between union leaders and UNICEF special representative Jean Gough.

In a statement, Gough said UNICEF purchased goods and services through a competitive bid process "from qualified Palestinian manufacturers, authorized dealers and companies.

"We only buy from other providers when goods are not available."

UNICEF is building a desalination unit in the Gaza Strip. The UN has estimated that almost 95 percent of water pumped in Gaza is unfit for drinking.

"We are committed to work with our Palestinian partners to ensure that this unit can be built without delay and with the best quality materials available, so that it can benefit Palestinian children as soon as possible," Gough said.

"The final decision on the continuation of this project is in the hands of our Palestinian counterparts and stakeholder."

UNICEF spokeswoman Catherine Weibel told Ma'an that the agency had invited bids from authorized dealers and manufacturers for the project but no company had yet been hired.

Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following Israel's 3-week offensive in 2008 has been hampered by Israeli restrictions on bringing building materials into the enclave. Israel only allows construction materials into Gaza for projects run by international organizations.

The UN says over 3,500 homes were destroyed in the assault as well as industrial building and infrastructure for electricity, sanitation, water, and health.

Meanwhile, Israel's almost-total ban on exports from Gaza has strangled the economy, causing thousands of businesses and factories to close.
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1 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
28/05/2012 22:51
The Gazan Palestinian contractors are RIGHT. We should NOT be involved--because the Gazan Palestinian contractors can probably do all Gazan (re)construction THEMSELVES--in Gazan (re)construction bidding. Believe me, we have ENOUGH work to do WITHOUG getting into Gaza. UNICEF says it buys from (non-Gazan) providers (only) when goods are not available. Fine. So we should work with UNICEF/Gazan contractors to allow Gazan contractors to buy/get needed goods from us/others so they can (cont.)

2 ) West Banker / Palestine
28/05/2012 22:53
Meanwhile, the PA is also condemning UNICEF or kissing it's...? They certainly regarded being recognized by the UNICEF as victory, however meaningless and humiliating for the Palestinian people.

3 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
28/05/2012 23:00
do ALL bidding and (re)construction BY THEMSELVES. Didn't UNICEF admit "Palestine" TO its membership ??? ... So it should SUPPORT the Gazan Palestinians' efforts to HELP THEM HELP THEMSELVES !!! (... and our government should do so, likewise) ... So Attention: UNICEF !!! ... LISTEN TO THEM !!! ... We in Israel really DON'T NEED TO BE (AND SHOULDN'T BE) IN THERE !!! ... Do you UNDERSTAND THIS ??? ...

4 ) Richard / UK
29/05/2012 16:10
The Palestinian contractors do have a point. The IDF destroy buildings in Gaza, then Israeli companies are awarded contracts to re-build, boosting Israel's economy - and paid by the UN.

5 ) Jihane / Palestine/France
29/05/2012 22:15
No Zionist participation whatsoever in the reconstructions in Gaza. Wouldn't that be great: first the bastards bomb down the place, including nearly 400 children, and then they have the chutzpah to think they can make money on the reconstruction. Kafka would have found inspiration in this hilarious news item. PS. Palestine wasn't recognized by UNICEF but by UNESCO, UN's educational, scientific and cultural organization, with siege in Paris, and we have an ambassador, Elias Sanbar.

6 ) samson / Jerusalem
30/05/2012 09:04
Good point YEHUDA SOLOMON. However, please get your facts right, UNICEF did not admit Palestine to "its membership". That was UNESCO. Those are two VERY distinct UN agencies, with very distinct mandates.

7 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
31/05/2012 17:58
@ 5) Jihane/Palestine/France and 6) Samson/Jerusalem, ... You're RIGHT about my mistake concerning UNICEF---and, @ 5, as far as what you said regarding that ONLY, vous comprenez ???---THANKS for the correction ... Sorry about that mistake ... Even though it was UNESCO that admitted the PA my points about us staying out of Gazan (re)construction bidding I still stand by ... I try very hard to be accurate so I appreciate the correction VERY much ... Thanks, again.

8 ) Jihane / Palestine/France
31/05/2012 21:41
@ Yehuda Oui, je comprends ! My point on UNESCO wasn't directed at you but @ West Banker who claims that the admission to UNESCO was humiliating and meaningless. I don't agree, and I saw full-grown men cry that day. And seeing the Palestinian flag blowing in the wind (though it was rather in the rain) was a beautiful moment. PALESTINE VIVRA ET PALESTINE VAINCRA ! With the legendary sum?d !

9 ) Arnold / Canada
03/06/2012 16:01
Each day that Abbas does not sit at the peace table means another day lost for the State of Palestine. Plain and simple.

10 ) Boycott / USA
04/06/2012 15:42
With Palestinians boycotting UNICEF,
UNICEF should boycott Palestinians !!

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