Abbas to Ask Islamic Countries for Major Aid
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will present a multi-sector aid plan to lift the PA out of its financial crisis when he addresses the Organization of Islamic Countries this week, a PA minister told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency on Sunday.
The plan “needs hundreds of millions of dollars to be implemented, and we hope that Islamic countries will support us,” Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habash told Ma'an.
Abbas arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday afternoon ahead of the two-day extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Countries to start in Mecca on Tuesday, the report noted.
His address to the summit will be brief, and Al-Habash added that it will also outline what was termed as “concerns” regarding land confiscation, displacement and the Judaization of Jerusalem.
Abbas will also discuss his renewed unilateral bid for a membership upgrade at the UN and reconciliation efforts of his Fatah party with rivals Hamas.
He will present a plan for support to all sectors of the economy, including industry, agriculture and housing, Al-Habash said.
The PA government currently faces its worst financial crisis since its 1994 establishment. The PA’s labor minister recently warned that a shortfall in the delivery of aid from Arab donor nations means the PA will be unable to pay employees their July salaries or pay off debts it owes to private businesses.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad warned several months ago that the Palestinian Authority may soon fail financially and cease to exist.
A PA economist predicted last week that the PA is on the verge of collapse, warning that the later it happens, the harder it will be.
Birzeit University economist Tareq Sadeq blamed the administration under Fayyad, which he says needs to change its policies in order to alleviate the financial burden many Palestinian families now face.
Saudi Arabia recently gave the PA an emergency $100 million donation. The money was given after PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had asked King Abdullah for emergency financial assistance for his government.
Earlier this month, Fayyad and Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz agreed on arrangements regarding taxation and the transfer of goods between Israel and the PA.