The programme, named ‘Leading Change’, was launched by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and aims to address social inequality between East and West Jerusalem, by investing £420 million in three core areas of education, infrastructure, and helping Palestinian women enter the work force.
In the next five years, the money will be spent on a variety of programmes, including nine pilot projects, with the aim of attracting further government and private investment.
Palestinian neighbourhoods suffer from poor infrastructure, neglect and below standard public services. Nearly 80% of the city’s Palestinian families live in poverty.
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin described it as “the most comprehensive attempt by the government to date to narrow the gaps and to develop the economy” of East Jerusalem.
Last year the Israeli government invested £37 million to upgrade the infrastructure of Arab neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, which included upgrading 33 km of sewage infrastructure.
Most East Jerusalem Palestinians are not Israeli citizens, but hold residency rights that allow them to work and freely travel in Israel.