17 January 2013 | Pic : Naharanet.com
The Palestinian president’s office says Saudi Arabia will give the Palestinian government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank $100m to help alleviate a worsening budget crisis.
The state’s budget is facing a large deficit as a result of the holding of Palestinian money by the Israeli government as a punishment, after the UN recognition of Palestine as an observer state.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian government has been hard-pressed to pay more than $300m in monthly expenditures since Israel announced it would confiscate $100m it collects in customs taxes on their behalf each month.
The Saudi aid will make little progress toward lowering the government’s debt of more than $1.3bn to Palestinian banks and hundred of millions of dollars in unpaid contracts to the private sector.
An earlier $100m gift from Saudi Arabia last July and donations from Iraq, Algeria and other Arab countries provided much of the Palestinians’ foreign aid in 2012.
On Wednesday, the European Union announced some $133m in annual assistance to the Palestinians and UN aid agencies servicing Palestinian refugees, in line with previous years.
The United States continues to withhold $200m in budgetary assistance, around half the aid it delivered to the Palestinians in 2012, amid Congressional objections to their bid for statehood.
Source : Al Jazeera
Edited : Yusuf Alli