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Arab states to provide PA with $100 million monthly
Published Sunday 09/12/2012 (updated) 13/12/2012 20:03
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President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the Arab Peace Initiative
Committee Meeting in Doha December 9, 2012.
(Reuters/Mohammed Dabbous)
DOHA (Reuters) -- Arab states agreed to provide the Palestinian Authority with a $100 million monthly "financial safety net" to help President Mahmoud Abbas's government cope with an economic crisis after the United Nations granted de facto statehood to Palestine.

Israel has responded to the Nov. 29 UN vote by ordering 3,000 Jewish settler homes be built in the occupied West Bank and announced it would hold back payments of customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinians to pay an outstanding electricity bill.

In a statement on Sunday after a meeting in Doha, Arab foreign ministers called for the immediate implementation of a resolution passed at an Arab summit in Baghdad in March, which called for the provision of a $100 million monthly safety net.

The statement did not give details of how the money would be paid or who would pay, but Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi said a mechanism has been agreed.

"The mechanism is that the chair of the committee (Qatar) and the secretary-general will contact each country with the exact amount they have to pay," al-Arabi told Reuters after the meeting. "I said I want an answer in 15 days," he added.

Israel and the United States opposed the UN General Assembly's upgrade of the Palestinians' status to "non-member state", saying Abbas should instead resume peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over Israeli settlement-building.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund said in September that a gathering crisis in the Palestinian economy would worsen unless foreign funding increased and Israel eased long-standing curbs on development.

In a separate report, the World Bank also forecast a $1.5 billion Palestinian budget deficit for 2012, with donor funds expected to cover only $1.14 billion of this shortfall.

Last Thursday, the Palestinian cabinet said at a meeting in Ramallah that $240 million were needed every month to meet demands arising from the Israeli decision to stop customs revenues transfers and the failure of donors to transfer previously pledged funds.

The Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank and receives most of its aid from the United States, the European Union and Arab states.

But over the past several years there has been a shortfall in aid coming from Arab states resulting in the PA being unable to pay salaries to its 153,000 civil servants on time on several occasions. The administration has yet to pay November salaries following Israel's decision to withhold money transfers.

The Arab ministers also called for convening of a donors' conference to discuss ways to support the Palestinian people in the West Bank and discuss reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.

Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, pledged $400 million to help develop Gaza during a visit there in October.

Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said the Arab summit also agreed to appoint a ministerial delegation to contact the UN Security Council, the EU, Russia and China, in order to exert pressure over Israel.

The delegation will convene in January to urge world pressure on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, stop settlement activities and respect all the rights of the state of Palestine, al-Malki said.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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1 ) shirley / Australia
09/12/2012 23:01
this safety net needs to be increased but Abbass must start to do more to join bodies Un etc to strengthen palestinianstate and start ways collecting own tax and MAAN NEWS SHOULD OMIT reference toSTATE of PALESTINE as ade facto STATE shame on YOU noyt supporting your own country and using word for word your masters as USUAL REUTERS it does not go unnoticed

2 ) Financial / Crisis
09/12/2012 23:27
Only completely brainless fools can give palestinians any money.

3 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
10/12/2012 01:07
So where in the hell is all the damn MONEY that was promised at the Arab Summit in Baghdad, Iraq 9 damn months ago ??? ... What the hell have they been doing all this time (besides waiting for Yasser Arafat's exhumation) ??? ...Waiting for Christmas ??? ... Now they're waiting ANOTHER damn 15 days ??? ... Are they insane ??? ... Qatar pledged $400 million to Gaza 2 months ago ??? ... So where's THAT money ??? ... Going for more rockets and (Iranian, Sudanese) missiles ??? ... I have (cont.)

4 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
10/12/2012 01:24
strongly told our government to give the PA its tax revenues. As I posted in a related article {"PA: World should retrieve our tax revenues from Israel" [Source: MNA ((updated) 08/12/2012]}, we are only crapping on ourselves like hell by confiscating the PA's tax revenues despite any debts owed. Just think what all this damn money could do for the Palestinians if they all went to Jordan/Palestine and it went there. There would be hope and prosperity like you never saw in your life.

5 ) Mel / USA
10/12/2012 01:42
Hmm? Money in exchange for what,Mr.Abbas? Qatar doesn't give "aid"for nothing. What do U have to sacrifice in return? Assist the USG-Gulf coup on Shiiites in Syria &leave it like Iraq,Libya,Gaza?Qatar's still a US-military-base host. Doha/Riyadh are funding Salafist executioners in Syria,to act as D.C.proxies in a coup on Syria(?Iran).What's the price? Al-Thani has a deal with US/EU oil CEO's on his oil/gas pipeline thru' N.Saudi,S/Syria,N.Israel,out to Turkey,to undercut Russia's profits in EU!

6 ) beg more / make plo
10/12/2012 01:44
millionairs

7 ) Bonnie / U.S.
10/12/2012 21:06
Hehehe! Everything comes with strings, money isn't given out for no reason. Here's my take on it: Palestinian islamic folk are struggling to survive, and have also had a Diaspora Worldwide. In this way, they've been exposed to other cultures, in the West, freer than the stringent islam. Saudi gov is strictly fundamentalist, they NOT about to let any of their people out from under their thumb, but the commoners have been getting wild ideas of freedom from outside. That's a no no. cont'd

8 ) Bonnie / U.S.
10/12/2012 21:10
cont'd Now, the Saudi rulers have been supporting their fellow regimes in Bahrain, and see a chance to bring the newly hatched PA, back into the rigid islamic fold. This way, the Sauds are giving money to the PA leadership, with strings attached, to make sure, the common folk with new, wild ideas, stay down. Same as the Egypt "Arab Spring."

9 ) Tissa / Sri Lanka
13/12/2012 12:13
If the Pals are allowed to have their industries, cultivate their lands,to move from their homes to the fields and let them harvest the olive they will not beg, borrow or steal.

10 ) Business / Israel
14/12/2012 04:30
It will all end up in Israel - the Palestinians LOVE our products. Ask any one on the West Bank. They are our best customers for food products.
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