Palestinians collect Hamas donations

"This is our way of telling the world that we can live without them."

palestinian money 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
palestinian money 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Several thousand Hamas supporters gathered Friday to collect money and jewelry for the cash-strapped Palestinian government on Friday, criticizing the Western economic pressure on the Islamic group. Some 5,000 people joined the demonstration, most of them wearing green Hamas hats and clothing. People announced over megaphones how much participants were donating. Some said they were donating their entire paychecks. "These donations are our way of telling the world that we can live without them, and our children are paying what the Europeans should be paying," said Bassam al-Shaqaa, a former mayor of Nablus. Concerned about the worsening situation, Western donors agreed this week to restore some humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. But it remains unclear when the money will start flowing. A World Bank report put out on the eve of Wednesday's Quartet meeting warned that the PA might collapse if not assisted immediately. The Quartet met in New York to discuss the financial crisis the Palestinians have been going through since Hamas came to power. Representatives of the US, UN, EU and Russia began to discuss requests of the PA to renew financial support in light of its inability to pay salaries or provide services. In the first part of the discussion, Quartet members were joined by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that 'the one thing that we cannot do is to let Hamas continue to pretend that it's the international community's fault that there's a health care problem in the Palestinian territories.'