Last updated: 22 March, 2012

Palestinians urge donors to cough up promised funds

Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad on Thursday urged donors to hastily provide promised funds to help the Palestinian Authority weather a financial crisis.

Speaking a day after a meeting of international donors in Brussels, known as the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Fayyad said the monies were crucial to help the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to meet its obligations.

At the close of the meeting, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere who chairs the committee, urged supporters “to ensure the contribution of $1 billion (760 million euros) in assistance” in 2012 and urged Israel to facilitate the transfer of tax monies due to the Palestinian Authority.

“What is more important is that this money, or at least part of it, is transferred as quickly as possible so the Palestinian Authority can deal with its difficult financial crisis,” Fayyad told the official Voice of Palestine radio.

The European Union had pledged 155 million euros ($204 million) and the United States was working to complete its allocations for 2011.

“What is equally important is funding from the Arab countries,” said Fayyad.

“Funding from the region is crucial. Until now, all we have received from the Arab countries in 2012 is $32 million (24 million euros) from Qatar, which we are grateful for but we need much more,” he said.

“The Palestinian Authority depends on its tax revenues in addition to financial aid in order to fulfill its obligations, including salaries. If the aid doesn’t come through… it will seriously hinder the Palestinian Authority from fulfilling its obligations.”

In its closing statement, the committee referred to the need for “burden sharing” between the donor nations.

It also hailed a technical agreement between the Israeli and Palestinian finance ministries to make the collection of tax monies “more efficient and transparent” and urged a “swift conclusion and implementation” of the deal.

And it called on Israel “to facilitate sustainable growth of the Palestinian economy… by taking further steps to improve movement of people and goods, development, and trade and exports” in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as in east Jerusalem.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations have all expressed concern over the budgetary problems difficulties being faced by the Palestinian Authority as a result of Israeli restrictions.