UN cites humanitarian crisis in W.Bank and Gaza

Palestinians face a grave humanitarian crisis if the substantial foreign funding to the Palestinian Authority remains frozen, the United Nations warned in a report released Wednesday. The United Nations warned that poverty in the Palestinian areas could reach as high as 75 percent without Western aid and the monthly transfer of tax revenue that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian government. David Shearer, head of the local UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the financial shortfall would hit the poor hardest and could spark further violence with armed Palestinian security officials taking the law into their own hands if their salaries were not paid. The Palestinian Authority has not yet been able to pay its 140,000 employees their March salaries, which were due the beginning of April. The government salaries sustain roughly one-third of the Palestinian population.