Arab leaders urged two Arab funds to step up the delivery of funds to the Palestinians whose economy is near collapse six months after the start of an uprising against Israel, according to a draft resolution adopted by Arab foreign ministers Sunday, March 25, in Jordan. The document, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, will be submitted by the ministers to Arab heads of state who will hold a summit in Amman on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It calls on two funds established by an emergency Arab summit five months ago in Cairo to "sustain the Palestinian budget over the next six months". The Jerusalem Intifada Fund was created last October to support the families of Palestinians killed or wounded, and the Al-Aqsa Fund to "preserve the Islamic character of east-Jerusalem" and support the Palestinian economy.
But Sunday's resolution does not specify the amount of the emergency financial assistance that should be handed over to the Palestinians. A senior Arab official told AFP Saturday that the Arabs had agreed to provide the Palestinian people with an emergency aid of $40 million per month over a six-month-period.
Last month, the United Nations estimated that the Palestinian economy had lost more than a billion dollars since the beginning of the uprising against Israel in September. Palestinian Finance Minister Mohammed Zuhdi Nashashibi last week said Palestinians will seek emergency aid of $320 million at the Arab summit from a promised fund of one billion dollars pledged in October in Cairo. So far, a mere $15 million have been forthcoming.
Several Arab countries have refused to give financial aid directly to the Palestine Authority, accusing it of lack of transparency in managing its funds. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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