Donors, Palestinians form $500 million mortgage company in West Bank

The Palestinian government has unveiled a plan to build 30,000 affordable apartments in the West Bank and offer $500 million (€315 million) in long-term mortgages. Officials say the Palestinians need 65,000 new homes today, and demand is growing by 11,000 a year. Long-term loans are rare in the Palestinian territories. The housing plan was presented at a news conference Monday. The mortgage money is coming from the US, Britain and the Palestinian government. New construction in seven or eight suburbs of West Bank cities is expected to create thousands of jobs. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attended the news conference and said such projects will help persuade Palestinians that they are on the way to a better future.