The construction of new power and water plants, never mind wastewater schemes, may not be glamorous, but it is vital to the development of any country, especially one like Palestine whose people are struggling with living under occupation as well as with a lack of finance. When such projects are linked to sustainability and the use of low-maintenance, renewable energy sources, they can do even more to promote what the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) –Japan’s foreign aid organisation– calls “human security.” And that’s something that could benefit Palestinians living in Jordan and the neighbouring countries, as well in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
A Japanese engineer supervising the installation of solar panels at the Jericho Agro-Industrial Park.
At first glance, the construction site for a new solar electricity generation system just outside Jericho in the West Bank looks like a low-lying maze of horizontal steel beams stretching across an otherwise empty tract of sand to the administrative buildings of a new industrial zone – JAIP – that JICA is building nearby. (See Jericho Agro-Industrial Park, below.) But, if all goes well, by next year it should be providing much-needed power for Jericho city, as well as for the new factories in the Park. Continue reading