EU calls on Israel for Palestinian aid

Solana also asks Arab nations to deposit aid into a World Bank account.

EU meeting Vienna 298 (photo credit: )
EU meeting Vienna 298
(photo credit: )
The European Union on Wednesday urged countries worldwide, especially Israel, to send funds for poor families and for essential services for Palestinians through a World Bank account that would ensure aid did not go into the pockets of the Hamas-led government. Javier Solana, the EU's top foreign and security affairs chief, said the EU is asking countries worldwide, including Arab nations, to deposit aid into a World Bank account that provided assistance for Palestinians by circumventing their Hamas government, which neither recognized Israel nor supported the international community's Mideast peace efforts. "The money will go to the people," he said. "It is not a mechanism to support the (Palestinian) government (but) to support the people that are in need. That is the whole idea behind the mechanism." Through the World Bank, no Palestinian government workers get paid, but "social allowances" are funneled to health workers and other needy families. The EU wants Israel to use the World Bank account to resume tax payments it collects on behalf of the Palestinian government. Since the emergence of the Hamas government, it has withheld more than US$50 million (€40 million) in monthly tax revenues, which has plunged the West Bank and Gaza into financial crisis. "For the moment the Israelis are not going to contribute. They have to analyze it in detail and take their decisions," Solana told The Associated Press. "I hope very much that at the end of the day they will also contribute." The United States has expressed its support for the funding plan but said it would not make any monetary contribution to it pay into it.