Israel to Push for More International Aid for Palestinian Authority
i24 News – Israel will push for more international aid to the Palestinians at a conference of donor countries in Norway this week.
“In our meetings over the next few days, our message to donor countries will be to provide more aid to the Palestinians. The decrease in donations in recent years has created a financial crisis that threatens not only the Palestinian Authority, but the region as a whole,” Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Frej told the Times of Israel on Monday.
Foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority plummeted over the past year. Publicly available documents state that Ramallah received $480 million in foreign budgetary aid between January and September 2019, while it received only $32.75 million in aid during the same period in 2020. This year, donor funds are expected to reach $184 million, according to the World Bank.
International observers have expressed concern about a possible financial collapse of the Palestinian Authority, while its budget deficit is expected to reach $1.36 billion in 2021, according to the United Nations.
“Israel and the Palestinian Authority are one unit economically. No one is doing the other a favor here, this initiative will serve both sides. A strong PA will benefit Israel,” Frej added.
International donors to the Palestinian Authority are scheduled to meet in Oslo over the next two days. Issawi Frej, along with other senior military and government officials, will represent Israel at the conference.
The meeting comes as the Palestinian Authority faces a “persistent economic and fiscal crisis,” according to the United Nations. Its situation, weakened by the Covid pandemic and aggravated by the decline in foreign aid, raises fears that Ramallah will soon be unable to pay its own civil servants.