EU pledges additional €42.5 million to Palestine

The European Union has agreed to put an extra 42.5 million euros (52.9 million dollars) towards building a “democratic and accountable” Palestinian state, foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.

Mogherini said on Wednesday that the money will go towards activities in East Jerusalem while also helping to build a Palestinian state through policy reforms, debt reduction, support for businesses and Palestinian civil society as well as access to water and energy.

The announcement came ahead of talks in Brussels bringing together top Israeli, Palestinian, U.S. and Arab politicians and officials for the first time since a controversial U.S. decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

“Everybody must recognise that the U.S. is essential for any process to realistically have a chance to succeed,” Mogherini said, while warning Washington: “alone it will be more difficult to achieve anything.”

NAN reports that on Jan. 17, the Trump administration cut tens of millions of dollars in money for Palestinian,
refugees, demanding that the UN agency responsible for the programmes undertake a “fundamental re-examination.”

In a letter, the State Department notified the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that the U.S. is withholding 65 million dollars of a planned 125 million dollars funding installment.

The letter also makes clear that additional U.S. donations will be contingent on major changes by UNRWA, which has been heavily criticised by Israel.

The State Department said it was releasing the rest of the installment, 60 million dollars, to prevent the agency from running out of cash by the end of the month and closing down.

The U.S. is UNWRA’s largest donor, supplying nearly 30 per cent of its budget.

The agency focuses on providing health care, education and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. (NAN)

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