USAID erects new West Bank road signs

Aug. 27, 2009 at 1:31 PM
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JERUSALEM, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. agency says it is replacing West Bank road signs only in areas under full or partial Palestinian Authority control with English and Arabic ones.

The U.S. Agency for International Development denied reports claiming it was removing existing road signs in Hebrew in the Israel-controlled portion of the West Bank and replacing them with English and Arabic road signs.

Media reports Thursday implied the new road signs were in preparation for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The replacing of the signs is a small component of a larger project called the Palestinian Authority Capacity Enhancement Project, which works with six Palestinian ministries, including the Ministry of Transportation, the agency's press office said in response to a query submitted by United Press International Thursday.

The project's goal is to improve delivery service across the area "in ways that will make a noticeable difference for the Palestinian people," the agency said.

The agency said the new road signs in Arabic and English are posted in Area A, which is under total Palestinian control, and Area B, under Palestinian civilian control and Israeli security control. The agency insisted road signs in Area C, which is under total Israeli control, were not being touched.

The West Bank was divided into three zones in accordance with the Oslo Accords, delegating civil and security responsibilities between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

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