The 25 member nations of the European Union have agreed to increase aid to the Palestinian Authority in 2005 with a pledge of $342.8 million. This new aid package comes a day before the so-called Quartet--the United States, Russia, the EU and the United Nations--meet to discuss the next phase in the Middle East peace process in the post-disengagement era. The total of EU aid to the Palestinians in 2005 is now $612.15 million.
The Quartet will be discussing some vital issues facing both the Israelis and Palestinians, such as the Gaza-Egypt border, the opening of Gaza air and seaports, and the Palestinian economy. Now that Israel has left Gaza, the international community is looking to further stabilize that Palestinian economy and support its government institutions. Several EU states have even offered to help develop the seaport in Gaza. Millions more in aid will be available to the PA if they enact both political and economic reforms. In addition, over $12 million has been set aside to help bring Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations together. Nearly $80 million in aid has been pledged to the United Nations Works and Refugee Agency.
Sources: Jerusalem Post (September 20, 2005)