US gov't delegation to plan aid for Negev, Galilee

US gov't delegation to plan aid for Negev, Galilee
Globes - June 21, 2005
by Ron Dagoni

An AIPAC delegation arrives today to prepare for the official delegation's visit in July.

Some 40 US legislators and government officials are due in Israel in July to formulate a US aid plan for developing the Negev and the Galilee regions. It is hoped that implementation of the plan will start the day after Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is completed, Vice Premier Shimon Peres said yesterday.

Today, a delegation of activists from AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, will come to Israel to prepare the ground for the visit of the legislators and officials. As part of the preparations, the AIPAC members will visit Ramat Hanegev, and meet Office of the Vice Premier director-general Efrat Duvdevani and Negev Development Authority chairman Shmuel Rifman.

AIPAC headquarters in Washington is currently working on the make-up of the group of legislators and officials that will come to Israel. AIPAC staff are presenting to potential visitors the main projects for developing the Negev and the Galilee that require finance.

Duvdevani said that her ministry aspired to raise US finance for the transfer of DF bases to Ramat Hanegev; for infrastructure development, including roads and railways; for dealing with environmental matters, headed by the Ramat Hovav toxic waste depot; for setting up high-tech centers and industrial parks; and for solving the problems of the Bedouin population, chiefly those of the residents of unrecognized villages.

Duvdevani said the Ministry of Finance was coordinating the request for US aid, in liaison with the Ministry of Defense.