detail - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
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For Hans-Gert Pöttering, the Middle East is a region of both professional and personal interest. Since 1999, Hans-Gert Pöttering has undertaken numerous informal travels to the Middle East for his summer vacations. He is also already acquainted with the Palestinian Territories, for example having visited the Gaza Strip in 2007 to see the difficult situation there first hand.
On the way to Ramallah, Hans-Gert Pöttering and his entourage stopped at the Israeli Qalandiya Checkpoint, where they could get an impression of the Palestinian's limited freedom of movement. In the unofficial Palestinian capital, the group met with Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad. Main talking points were the "Arab Spring", the role of the European Union in the Middle East and its possibilities to support the emerging regional reform process. During lunch with Dr. Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Survey and Policy Research (PSR), the delegation spoke about the life of Palestinians in general and their perception of the current events in particular.
During his subsequent visit to the KAS Ramallah offices, Hans-Gert Pöttering took the time to engage with members of staff, in order to get to know more about their personal and professional backgrounds, as well as to understand the office's current projects. One of the main pillars of KAS Ramallah's projects is the rule of law program, carried out jointly with Birzeit University. Related are the consolidation of community institutions and the enhancement of their effectiveness. To this end, KAS Ramallah supports the Institute for Community Partnership (ICP) located with the University of Bethlehem. The main focus of MIFTAH's work is the practical education of young media students. Surveys on the situation in the Palestinian Territories lay at the heart of the cooperation with PSR. The cooperation with IALIIS, a faculty of Birzeit University, began in 2011 and has as a goal to get the Palestinians acquainted with the structure and role of the European Union.
Concluding, the group wished the office all the best in their endeavours in this difficult environment.