Egypt Independent

Palestinians in crisis, pledged aid not received

RAMALLAH — The Palestinian finance minister says his self-rule government is facing its worst financial crisis in years because donor countries have paid only US$466 million of US$1.2 billion promised this year.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers 38 percent of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, depends on foreign funding, in part because of Israeli restrictions and a bloated public payroll.

Finance Minister Nabil Qassis said Wednesday that Arab countries have not kept promises, including Saudi Arabia, which pledged $95 million. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visits Saudi Arabia this week.

Qassis says the US failed to transfer US$200 million expected in June.

The crunch means civil servants, the largest group of workers, get only partial salaries this month.

The Palestinian Authority owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the private sector and to banks.