The European Union announced it is continuing to bail out Palestinian Authority workers, including those in Gaza, but its payments for the first three months of this year already are nearly 50 percent of what was budgeted for the year.
"The EU is very much aware of the financial difficulties that the Palestinian Authority faces at this start of the year, and has already delivered more than half of its planned assistance in the first quarter of 2010,” it stated in a press release.
The March payment of $28.1 million (104 million shekels) covers wages for 85,000 workers and is part of approximately $212 million to be paid for salaries this year. Total EU aid amounts to approximately three-quarters of a billion dollars annually.
"The Palestinian National Authority is in need for a stable and guaranteed flow of funds that keeps it existing and fulfilling its commitments towards the Palestinian people," said Christian Burger, the EU representative in Ramallah.
The PA is dependent on foreign aid to continue functioning, but an Arabic-language newspaper reported Wednesday that Arab countries have not forwarded any money at all to the PA, despite billions of dollars that they have pledged in “donors' conferences.”
Money continues to reach the Hamas-controlled Gaza region despite the international boycott of the terrorist organization, through a money-funneling mechanism known by the French acronym PEGASE. The EU has stated that PEGASE was created to “channel EU and international assistance as a contribution to the building of the Palestinian State.”
Hamas recently robbed a Palestinian Authority bank in Gaza, confiscating funds that were earmarked for humanitarian aid.