Delegates meeting in Paris to raise money to support a Palestinian state have been told that political goodwill must accompany financial aid. The donors conference is seen as the financial sequel to last month’s talks in the US, where the Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to push for a deal before the end of next year.
Pledging over 200 million euros from France, president Nicolas Sarkozy said that Israel must suspend its expansion of settlements on occupied land. “How else can you create a viable economy?” he asked.
Palestinian authorities are asking for nearly four billion euros in aid to help build a durable economy. President Mahmoud Abbas said the funds are needed to avoid what he called a “total catastrophe” in Gaza and the West Bank.
The economic situation is particularly dire in Gaza, which has been under the control of hardline Islamist group Hamas since June. Some of the money would go to Gaza but analysts believe most would go to support the Fatah government in the West Bank.
The EU has promised around 450 million euros, but the World Bank has said that Israel must lift trade and travel restrictions if any development plan is to work.