Visit of the German Mayors' National Soccer Team - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
During their travels to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, a 34-strong delegation of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) visited the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation (KAS) in Ramallah on May 9th 2011. The group was headed by the President of the DStGB, Mr. Roland Schäfer, and Deputy President Mr. Uwe Lübking.
After a short visit of Qalandiya Checkpoint and a traditional Palestinian lunch, Mr. Felix Dane, the KAS Resident Representative to the Palestinian Territories, welcomed the delegation to the offices of KAS Ramallah.
The group then met Mr. David Khoury, the mayor of Taybeh. He welcomed them to the Palestinian Territories and formulated his appreciation of their interest in the local conditions. He also told them about his return to Taybeh after 30 years in the USA and his plans to invest in the Palestinian Territories' future. He described the difficulties to start up a brewery and to maintain it during the Second Intifada. As mayor, he campaigns for the preservation of historic housing, together with infrastructure and social schemes.
After the talk with Mr. Khoury, Mr. Felix Dane explained the local political situation and the Foundation's work in the past years.
The next speaker, Ms. Janet Michael, mayor of Ramallah, spoke about her work as first female in her position in the Palestinian Territories – a fact, she joked, did not impede on her work. Ms. Michael gave an outline of the multiple projects she started since the beginning of her term in office in 2006 and that made Ramallah an “attractive” city. She also thanked the German Government for its support in building a treatment plant and a waste dump.
Following this talk, Mr. Xavier Abu Eid, consultant at the Negotiations Support Unit (NSU), summarized the Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) official position in the peace negotiations with Israel. The NSU is a department of the Ramallah-based Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD), whose more than 20 employees implement the Negotiations Support Project supported by Great Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The project's objective is to lend technical support to the Palestinian Authority in their peace negotiations with Israel, as well as to revive them through diplomatic initiatives after they fail. In his presentation, Mr. Abu Eid referred to the preparation of negotiations as the tool to reach the end game of a sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.
After a closing talk with Mr. Dane in the KAS offices, the group made their way back to Tel Aviv, however not without a prior visit of Yasser Arafat's mausoleum.