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Middle East Getting Hi-Tech Park

December 30, 1998

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority plan to establish a hi-tech industrial park on the edge of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli government official said Wednesday.

In the beginning, organizers plan to build a hi-tech college to be attended by Egyptian, Palestinian and Israeli students.

There are hopes that the project will later entice large international companies to set up shop on the grounds and provide jobs for the students, said Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for the Israel government’s Palestinian affairs adviser.

The school is to open in about two years on the southern tip of Gaza, on a patch of land shared by Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians.

The project will be funded largely by private investment, and is aimed at creating job opportunities, especially in the Palestinian areas where unemployment runs as high as 30 percent.

Representatives from Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority met for the first time Tuesday to discuss the project, which was initiated by Israeli industrialist Steff Wertheimer.

Gaza already has one industrial park at the Karni crossing between Israel and the coastal strip. However, Karni focuses on manufacturing and offers mainly blue-collar jobs to Palestinians.

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