As part of the Team Europe approach, the European Union, Finland, and Italy are making a contribution of €17 million to the Palestinian Authority, supporting the payment of medical referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals. This contribution is funded by the EU (€13 million) and the Government of Italy (€1 million). The contribution of €3 million by the Government of Finland is planned for June 2020.
The support to East Jerusalem hospitals will help the Palestinian Authority in meeting its obligations towards these hospitals in spite of the difficult fiscal situation. Also, it will enable the East Jerusalem Hospitals to maintain critical medical services to Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza while responding to the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Together with European Union Member States, the EU has been supporting the Palestinian Authority since 2012 with regular contributions to the payment of referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals that have reached over €114 million since then. These hospitals are an integral part of the Palestinian healthcare system providing specialized services that cannot be found elsewhere in the West Bank and in Gaza.
“The European Union and its Member States are committed to supporting East Jerusalem Hospitals amid the Covid-19 crisis and its severe health, social and economic implications. We work hand in hand with the Palestinian Authority to sustain and maintain access to medical services by all Palestinians. The East Jerusalem hospitals are among the few Palestinian institutions still working in the city. Their presence helps both maintain the Palestinian character of the city and ensure that high quality medical services are provided. This contribution demonstrates our strong and unwavering commitment towards their much needed work”, said the European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff during his visit today to Saint Joseph Hospital in East Jerusalem together with the Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem and the Representative of Finland.
“As lead-donor for the Palestinian health-sector, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic Italy has been in constant dialogue with the Palestinian Authority to ensure that help is provided where most needed. Support to East Jerusalem Hospitals is an integral part of this commitment to back PA’s efforts in ensuring quality health care for all its citizens. In addition to providing essential specialized care to all Palestinians, whether they live in the West Bank or in Gaza, these Hospitals are institutions deeply rooted in the history of the city, to whose safeguard Italy attaches great importance”” said Mr. Giuseppe Fedele, Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem.
“Finland remains committed to supporting the Palestinian Authority in its delivery of essential services to its citizens. Our increased contribution towards the referral costs of patients to the East Jerusalem hospitals is a response to the difficult fiscal situation of the Palestinian Authority. It is also a response to the critical financial situation of the East Jerusalem hospitals and an acknowledgement of their excellent work, both in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and in their day-to-day service delivery”, said Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen, the Representative of Finland.
Most of the European Union’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority is channelled through PEGASE, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA Reform and Development Plan and the subsequent Palestinian national plans and policy agendas. As well as helping to meet a substantial proportion of its running costs, European funds support major reform and development programmes in key ministries, to help prepare the PA for statehood. Since February 2008, over €2.7 billion have been disbursed through the PEGASE Direct Financial Support programmes. In addition, the EU has provided assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA and a wide range of cooperation projects.
The East Jerusalem Hospitals serve as the main centres for specialized care within the Palestinian health system. Patients needing medical services that are not available in the West Bank and Gaza – such as specialist oncology, renal care and cardiac surgeries – are referred for treatment in the East Jerusalem Hospitals by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. There are six health institutions in East Jerusalem: Augusta Victoria Hospital, Makassed Hospital, St Joseph Hospital, St John’s Eye Hospital, Palestinian Red Crescent Maternity Hospital and Princess Basma Rehabilitation Centre.