Palestinian girl at UNRWA school 311 Reu.
(photo credit: Ali Hashisho / Reuters)
The European Union agreed to transfer 55.4 million euros (NIS 272m.) to the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) on
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton signed the agreement
while on a visit in the Gaza Strip.
According to a statement published on
the UNRWA website, the money will finance the agency’s General Fund, which
supports education, health and social services, and will be invested in Gaza,
the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
The latest EU contribution is
the “largest single donation to UNRWA’s core budget,” according to the agency
Ashton said the EU’s “continued support to UNRWA is an
essential element of the EU strategy to bring peace and stability to the
The UNRWA website also quoted her as saying “the 55.4 million
euro contribution we are signing today represents our ongoing commitment to the
Earlier Wednesday, Ashton called for the
continuation of talks
between Israel and the Palestinians. The current round of
talks, the fifth session of which was held today in Amman, “are not formal
talks, but at least people are speaking with each other,” she said, adding that
talks should not take place only for the sake of talks.
During her visit,
Ashton did not meet with any Hamas officials. The EU’s policy is that it will
not engage with Hamas until that organization renounces terrorism, recognizes
Israel and accepts previous Israeli- Palestinian agreements.
short Gaza trip, Ashton is expected to travel to Jerusalem to meet with Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.