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EU Pledges Additional €42.5 Million To The Palestinians

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The rest of the world have stepped up to fill the vacuum of funding created by the President Donald Trump to freeze aid to the Palestinians with the EU pledging an extra €42.5 million to help them for state-building efforts.

The European Union made the pledge on Wednesday of €42.5 million ($52.9 million) to support Palestinians, ahead of a high-level meeting in Brussels to address broken down peace talks.

The talks on Wednesday were to bring top Israeli, Palestinian, US and Arab officials and politicians together for the first time since US President Donald Trump made the controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said the assistance package would “support the Palestinians on their way towards the establishment of their own state as part of the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine.”

“The European Union is, and will remain, Palestine’s most reliable and important donor, investing in businesses, youth and schooling, helping to provide access to clean water in Gaza, strengthening civil society and investing on education and health,” Hahn said.

What the aid package includes

€14.9 million to:

  • Preserve the Palestinian character of Jerusalem
  • Counter the deterioration of socio-economic indicators such as widespread poverty
  • Fund projects that focus on advocacy and protection actions, youth and education, and support for the private sector with the aim of boosting economic development

€27.6 million to:

  • Support the building of a “democratic and accountable Palestinian State”
  • Fund targeted policy reforms and fiscal consolidation
  • Support businesses
  • Strengthen Palestinian civil society
  • Provide access to water and energy
 Ahead of the talks in Brussels on Wednesday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said, “The US is essential for any process to realistically have a chance to succeed,” and called on the US “to understand that alone it will be more difficult to achieve anything.”

On Tuesday, Pierre Krähenbühl, the commissioner general for the United Nations Palestinian aid agency UNRWA appealed for more than $800 million (€645 million) to provide assistance such as food, water, shelter, medical support and education to 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Gaza, the West Bank and Syria.

“The agency’s critical financial crisis following the reduction in US funds threatens our ability to deliver these vital services,” Krähenbühl said.

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