More than 150 million euros has been pledged to the Palestinian Authority at a international donors conference in Berlin.
The money is meant to go towards improving Palestinian police and legal institutions- an important step on the path to a two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
It is a substantial boost for the Palestinian government, coming only a year after delegates pledged more than 4 billion euros.
The German organisers called this conference an opportunity to lock in some of those pledges to projects such as court houses or prisons.
But diplomats did clash over whether to engage the Palestinian Hamas group now that it has called a truce with Israel in Gaza.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa elicited a strong U.S. reaction when he said reconciling the Palestinians in Gaza and the Western-backed government of Mahmoud Abbas was critical
for peace and the international “veto” on this had to be lifted.
He did not single out any one country but said it was the responsibility of all participants to help the Palestinians form a common front.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice surprised
participants when she asked to respond directly to Moussa: “You cannot have peace if there is not a partner who respects the right of the other partner to exist,” she said in an apparent reference to Hamas.
The so-called “Quartet” of Middle East peace negotiators comprising of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, is set to meet later in Berlin to discuss the truce.
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